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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 28, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Privacy, national security and Edward Snowden

Transparency is necessary

Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Gen. Keith B. Alexander testifies about NSA surveillance before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 12, 2013. [AP Photo/Charles Dharapak]

Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Gen. Keith B. Alexander testifies about NSA surveillance before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 12, 2013. [AP Photo/Charles Dharapak]

Perhaps the United States military academies and current general staff should be required to take ethics lessons to brush up on the difference between telling the truth and fabricating facts. [“Guest column: Forget manhunt for Snowden, tell us more about secret courts,” Opinion, June 27.]

Perhaps Congress should consider legislation canceling pensions of those who break their obligation to the American people by lying.

First, we have James Clapper flat out lie (not answer in the “least truthful manner”) to Congress about the extent of National Security Agency’s eavesdropping on the U.S. public. Next, we have Gen. Keith Alexander stating that dozens of plots were foiled by scouring digital records.

The supposed plots included a plan to blow up the New York Stock Exchange, and a group of San Diego men who planned to send financial support to a terrorist group in Somalia. This is the result of billions of dollars being spent on data mining of U.S. citizens and other law-abiding people around the globe, plus having weeks to put the most positive “spin” on the release of domestic spying information? Yet big data was unable to stop the Boston bombings.

The best way to ensure that security personnel are praised for their successes and held accountable for lying or inflating the value of intelligence techniques, is to be as open and transparent as possible.

Let the public see, and the media examine, the full list of all 50 plots that were supposedly stopped. Let us see what multibillion-dollar expenditures and an increasing loss if freedom have bought us.

What a shame that Snowden’s flight antics have drawn attention from the antics of our top security brass.

Dan Clements, Everett

0 Comments | More in Politics | Topics: FBI, james clapper, keith alexander

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