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Open Letter to the Washington Post

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Dear Editor,

I read with great dismay the opinion piece by Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell supporting pending legislation on the administration’s spying program and retroactive immunity for the telecom companies that carried out the domestic spying.

What Mr. McConnell gave us was more of the same vague fear mongering, without any substantiation that spying on Americans without court order was necessary to prevent terrorist attacks. There has never been one shred of evidence that spying on Americans is the way to protect America, nor is there any evidence that spying on Americans will stop future terrorist attacks.

Indeed, the administration had plenty of warning before the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, but failed to act, undermining the notion that acquiring information invariably leads to proactive deterrence. Intelligence agencies are awash in information from many sources, and can not possibly sort and analyze the data they are currently receiving. Adding to that flood of information with warrantless wiretapping will only exacerbate that problem. Intelligence agencies need better information, not just more of it, and you don’t get that type of good intelligence with blanket wiretapping of US citizens.

Mr. McConnell and the administration have not offered any evidence or rationale as to why they, and the telecom companies, should be above the laws of our nation. Playing the fear card is not a rationale, it is an appeal to emotion. If we are a nation of laws, then there can be no such thing as retroactive immunity for corporations that have potentially broken the law. Without congressional investigations, we would have no idea what we were granting immunity for.


John R. Moffett Ph.D.
Gaithersburg, MD

John R. Moffett PhD, is a Managing Editor at, and is a research neuroscientist in the Washington, DC area. Dr. Moffett's main area of research focuses on the brain metabolite N-acetylaspartate, and an associated genetic disorder (more...)
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Professor Moffet, your letter to the Washington Po... by Skeeter Sanders on Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 3:41:24 PM
I just hope that Congress gets so much pressure fr... by John R Moffett on Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 5:38:15 PM