"Chilling" is the word lawyers use to describe governmental behavior that does not directly interfere with constitutionally protected freedoms, but rather tends to deter folks from exercising them. Classic examples of "chilling" occurred in the 1970s, when FBI agents and U.S. Army soldiers, in business suits with badges displayed or in full uniform, showed up at anti-war rallies and proceeded to photograph and tape record protesters. The government's goal, and its limited success, was to deter dissent without actually interfering with it, explains Andrew Napolitano. Eventually, when this was exposed as part of a huge government plot to stifle dissent, known as COINTELPRO, the government stopped doing it… until now.
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