1979 March 9

“The Secret That Exploded” — The Progressive Magazine Enjoined from Publishing Article on the H-Bomb


A federal judge in Wisconsin granted an injunction on this day against The Progressive magazine because of an article on the hydrogen bomb that the federal government claimed revealed the “secret” to making an H-Bomb, written by Howard Morland. The government eventually dropped the case, and the article by Morland appeared in the November 1979 issue of The Progressive. Independent experts argued that the article contained no “secret” to building an H-Bomb.

The injunction against the Progressive was the most serious prior restraint threat to freedom of the press since the Pentagon Papers case, when, on June 15, 1971, the Justice Department obtained an injunction against The New York Times and the Washington Post for publishing articles based on the leaked Pentagon Papers about the history of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Read: Howard Morland, The Secret That Exploded (1981)

Learn more about freedom of the press: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/category/press

Visit the Progressive Magazine (which merged with the Center for Media and Democracy): http://www.cctv.org/welcome

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