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Bush Debated Troops to Arrest in US

A major U.S. newspaper says former President George W. Bush considered testing the Constitution by using the military to arrest terror suspects on American soil.

Citing unnamed Bush officials, The New York Times reports then-Vice President Dick Cheney, along with other senior advisors, advocated troops should arrest a group of al-Qaida-linked suspects in upstate New York in 2002.

The constitution and other U.S. laws restrict the use of the military for domestic raids.

But the Times says Cheney felt a 2001 Justice Department memo supported the president's authority to bring in soldiers, rather than law enforcement, in matters of national security.

According to the newspaper, he felt the suspects could be held in military custody with a lower threshold of evidence.

Then-national security advisor Condoleezza Rice, along with FBI director Robert Mueller and several other top officials, opposed the plan.

Mr. Bush ultimately decided to use the FBI to arrest the suspects.

The New York Times quotes a law professor saying it would have been the first military deployment on domestic soil since the Civil War in the 1860s.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.