June 25, 2013 at 7:30 AM
Controversial surveillance tactics used by the NSA
Transparency could prevent abuse of power
When the National Security Agency reviews huge masses of our personal communications, it’s dangerously naive to insist that the status quo is safe from abuse. [“Espionage charges for Snowden,” page one, June 22.]
During the 1960s and ’70s, my mother and other Seattle-area leftist political activists were the targets of government surveillance. An American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit forced revelation of the spying. My mother’s heavily redacted files were a travesty, incompetent, bigoted and contemptuous.
Technology and targets have changed, but the rationalizations are disturbingly similar. The eavesdropping machine is still run by humans capable of abuse and manipulation.
Our security agencies use secret courts, serve warrants without probable cause, and force targets to hand over everything in complete secrecy. In those circumstances, how can citizens be protected from the abuse (or far worse) that was directed against my family?
Responsible, democratic behavior from our government cannot be guaranteed without publicity. Regardless of political affiliation, we must demand adherence to transparency, due process and probable cause from police and national-security agencies.
Rainer Adkins, Seattle
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