Gingrich calls for 'Net free-speech clampdown to deter terrorists

Remarks sure to cause controversy

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Former House Speaker and presumptive 2008 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich addressed a freedom-of-speech awards dinner in New Hampshire last night and said the problem with the Internet in an age of terrorism is that it allows too damn much freedom of speech.

(What online news looked like on 9/11)

No word in the newspaper coverage as to how his words were received by the "Live Free or Die" state audience.

My guess is the Internet community, to say the very least, won't welcome them.

According to the Manchester Union-Leader: "Gingrich, speaking at a Manchester awards banquet, said a 'different set of rules' may be needed to reduce terrorists' ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message.

"We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city," Gingrich said, "which I think could happen in the next decade."

Press reports offered now specifics as what aspects of Internet free speech Gingrich would sacrifice to the fight against terrorism, but my guess would be that the pugnacious pol -- who's actually known for being a bit of a geek -- would not take kindly to sneaky communications methods of the type we've been writing about here and here.

Or maybe we'll have the encryption debate all over again during President Gingrich's first term.

Tough to tell when a headline-hunting pol starts flapping those gums.

(Update: Newt's reviews have not been kind on this one.

PublicEye at CBS News writes: "Regardless of whether a candidate sees the media overall as friend or foe, the one thing you probably don’t want to do is attack the underpinning of its very existence – at least if you’re thinking about running for the presidency."

Keith Olbermann at MSNBC gives him the business … as only Olbermann can these days.

Mark Jeffrey over at Huffington Post has it about right: "Non-negotiable."

I could go on … and on … and on.)

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