Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 29, 2005

Surveillance stops terrorist attacks

The expansion of presidential power to wiretap and spy on communications was a necessary step following the 9/11 attacks and is necessary now. The nation's ability to gather information on potential terrorists needs to be expanded permanently.

The steps the administration has taken to listen in on communications no doubt prevented another terrorist attack.

The president and the administration are doing everything possible to protect the country and prevent future terrorist attacks within the United States. Yet liberal Democrats continue to question administration policies - which really are headed in the right direction - for the sake of politics ("Bush defends his spy powers," Dec. 20).

It is high time for the left-wing Democrats to wake up and realize how their constant criticism of the administration's correct policies is hindering our security and safety and our war on terror.

There is still an enemy out there that wants to attack and kill us, and we need to support the president and his policies.

Al Eisner

Wheaton

It is appalling to listen to criticism of the president's use of clandestine surveillance that is designed to prevent another attack like those of Sept. 11, 2001.

It is even more appalling that the publicity will alert our enemies and enable them to modify their tactics.

Some of our representatives have forgotten the lessons of 9/11 or, worse, failed to learn them in the first place.

We are at war with an insidious enemy that has demonstrated the ability to attack our homeland.

As a result, we will be forced, in the interest of national security, to forfeit some cherished liberties as long as the threat of further attacks exists.

Jerrold L. Brotman

Timonium

Secret wiretapping threatens freedom

I am a lifelong, die-hard conservative Republican. I support the president in his foremost quest to protect our freedom and to rid the threat of terrorism from this post-9/11 world, even if it necessitates taking our war to foreign soils. I support his economic, judicial and social policies. I even supported his failed attempt to reform Social Security.

What I do not support or condone is wiretapping or spying on any U.S. citizen or legal alien without the protection afforded by judicial review ("NSA mines data on a wide scale," Dec. 24).

This is a barrier that must never be broken lest we as a society are willing to give up what we fight so hard to retain - our freedom.

Otherwise, man's inherent depravity will produce the "superior" man who, with great ease, will compromise the rights of another and justify his zeal in attacking the innocent in the name of some cause or another.

The intent may be honorable but, sooner or later, depravity overtakes prudent judgment and freedom becomes just another word for "that's how it used to be."

Let's continue to uphold our Constitution in the spirit in which it was written; it's the only barrier between us and fascism.

Gary Gamber

New Windsor

Privacy falls prey to abuse of power

I don't know what's more appalling: the president authorizing unwarranted wiretaps or the telecommunications companies unquestioningly going along with the National Security Agency's demand for access ("NSA mines data on a wide scale," Dec. 24).

Americans should be very wary about how our government wields power, as well as about those who bend to power's will so easily.

We are quickly moving away from a society of laws toward one in which we are prisoners without privacy in our own country.

If the president's spying on American citizens isn't grounds for impeachment, we are all surely doomed.

Daniel Waldman

Pikesville

Spying assurances not very reassuring

Relax; the government assures us it will spy on us only if it has rock-solid proof we are a true threat to national security - based on evidence gathered by the same folks who provided iron-clad proof that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Dave Reich

Perry Hall

Power corrupts president's precepts

The English historian Lord Acton gave us a famous insight about human nature when he cautioned: "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Our Founding Fathers used this same insight in designing the Constitution with checks and balances on political power as its most fundamental principle. Thus the actions of the president are checked by congressional oversight and judicial review, and this is as true in times of war as it is in times of peace.

Even if we accept - as I do - that President Bush's intentions in authorizing government wiretapping of Americans without a court warrant were honorable, such an action violates the most fundamental principle of the Constitution ("NSA mines data on a wide scale," Dec. 24).

No law or provision of the Constitution permits such an unchecked exercise of political power.

The fact that President Bush claims the authorization to exercise such unchecked power shows that he too has fallen victim to the disease that Lord Acton warned us about.

Larry DeWitt

Baltimore

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