Letters to the Editor, Feb. 19

Feb. 18, 2014 @ 02:39 PM

There are good people

Like many people on Wednesday trying to get home, I got in a jam on Lynn Road in Durham.  I tried to turn around after learning a bus had blocked traffic ahead of me. 

 Of course, I got stuck and as hard as I tried I soon realized I was getting nowhere fast.  Thank God for three “angels” sent my way rather quickly.  One was a man who had abandoned his own car and was walking home, another just walking in the neighborhood and another got out of his van to help.  Plus, one man shouting hints from his car (let some air out of the back tires -- it helped!). 

Thank you all for helping me get turned around and on my way home!  There are good people all around us. 
Robin Sorrell

Job security for liars

Last week, James Clapper, President Barack Obama's director of national security, went before the Senate Armed Services Committee to complain that the breach of secrecy created by Edward Snowden’s leaks harmed our ability to protect ourselves from terrorists.

Of course he's angry.  Snowden’s revelations proved Clapper lied to Congress when he said the NSA doesn't collect U.S. citizens' phone records. That's a felony. Why should I think he's telling the truth now? He gave no evidence to support his claims of harm.

The idea that "intelligence" requires secrecy is simply false. Let's not forget that the only people who got the question of WMD in Iraq right were those using openly available sources of information-- UN agencies with boots on the ground inside Iraq. The "intel" they got from the CIA led to dead ends -- because there was nothing there to begin with.

The NSA with all its super-powerful spying methods:
-- Missed the Boston Bombers.
-- Missed the Navy Yard shooter.
-- Was taken by surprise by the Arab Spring.

-- Identified Syria's use of chemical weapons only after it happened.

Years ago, the CIA even missed the imminent disintegration of the Soviet Union.

The president’s bipartisan commission could find no evidence that NSA surveillance helped prevent or investigate any terror plot.

All this spook stuff doesn't work very well when viewed objectively and historically. The only thing more secure thanks to the NSA is the job security of liars like James Clapper. That isn't worth shredding the Constitution.

Jim Senter