Letters To The Editor


January 14, 2003

NSA has solved its problem with power outages

I'm troubled to see that, despite our communications with reporter Ariel Sabar, his article "NSA still subject to electronic failure" (Jan. 2) contained inaccurate information about the National Security Agency (NSA) and its power outages.

Mr. Sabar called NSA regarding two alleged computer outages that his source says occurred over the July 4, 2000 weekend and the Labor Day weekend of 2002. We clearly informed Mr. Sabar on the record that his information was inaccurate, that NSA had no outages during the times he mentioned.

As I explained to Mr. Sabar in our telephone conversation, the last major outage NSA experienced was the January 2000 computer outage (about which we were very public).

NSA has high operating norms, and since January 2000, we have been functioning within those norms. And we are incredibly proud of the improvements we have made to our infrastructure to ensure the problems that occurred in 2000 will not occur again.

Judith A. Emmel

Fort Meade

The writer is director of public affairs for the National Security Agency.

The Sun's article "NSA still subject to electronic failure" implies that NSA had "major outages" of its computer systems in the past two years and quotes Gerald E. Loe of Cray Inc. as the source of this information. The information is incorrect. Our maintenance records show no such "major outages."

Mr. Loe informed The Sun that any reference he may have made to classified sites did not refer to NSA and that, to the extent that he referred to issues at other classified sites as "major," he misspoke.

James E. Rottsolk

Seattle, Wash.

The writer is president and CEO of Cray Inc.

Public's demands led state to spend

I am sick and tired of reading letters and articles complaining about Gov. Parris N. Glendening causing the state to face budget deficits.

I hope people will consider that you buy high-cost items such as a house or a car when you have money or the potential for earnings. When times are tough, you delay or pull back on expenses. But you don't regret those expenses, because they help you reach important goals.

Now times are tough for many states, including Maryland - as The Sun reported, "Two-thirds of states report falling revenues, and more than half expect deficits in their fiscal 2003 budgets" ("Fund-raisers help close gap in school budgets," Dec. 27).

But why do we face deficits? Because there was a demand from citizens to spend more on education, the environment, Medicaid, the mentally ill and so on.

When this money was spent, those who received the benefits didn't complain that too many state dollars were being spent. And now that anticipated revenues have fallen (because of a slow economy and unwise tax cuts) we must tighten upcoming budgets.

But we will not have a deficit, because state law requires a balanced budget.

Albert Sherman


Make rules for pets more realistic

As noted in The Sun's editorial that called for increased efforts to license dogs and cats, the city's multi-pet permit rules need to be more realistic ("Tagging cats and dogs," Jan. 1).

Many local pet owners have proved fully capable of responsibly caring for more than two pets. And many Maryland jurisdictions permit citizens to own four pets without a multi-pet permit. So Baltimore's limit of only two pets without a multi-pet permit seems quite unreasonable.

Revising the city's multi-pet regulations, as well as raising awareness about the need for pet licensing, would cause more people to obtain tags for their dogs and cats.

Robin Tierney

Ocean City

Balto. Co. had right to oust drug czar

Former Baltimore County drug czar Michael M. Gimbel seems always to blame his recent termination on "politics." However, County Executive James T. Smith has made clear the decision came from Health Officer Dr. Michelle A. Leverett ("Winds of change generate a chill," Jan. 7).

Anyone who knows Dr. Leverett knows she is an intelligent and fair person and an astute and able director. If she felt Mr. Gimbel was not a team player, then she had good reason to act as she did.

Give Dr. Leverett the benefit of a doubt. She's the health officer and has the right to clean out officials whom she feels need to go.

D. Keith Henderson

Perry Hall

Frigid winters are old news in Moscow

I have a question about The Sun's editorial "Out cold" (Jan. 6), which blames global warming and SUVs for the cold winter in Moscow: What is wrong with you people?

Blaming global warming and SUVs for cold weather in Moscow is ludicrous. For those who missed history class, it gets very, very cold in Russia during the winter. It always has. The dreaded Russian winter defeated the Germans in World War II, and it crushed the French army under Napoleon in 1812. In both instances the onset of winter came unusually early and the winter was "unusually cold." So very cold weather in Moscow is hardly a recent phenomenon.

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