Saturday, February 25, 2006

They write letters

A reader from California joins the Roots Project, writing to the Dodge CIty News and TfK:

I am a graduate of Dodge City high school (1941) and KU (1947) . Perhaps some of your readers might be interested in a comment regarding the secret wire tapping controversy.

The president says that the project was so sensitive that even Congress could not be made aware of it. Yet a great many employees of the various communication companies involved in the project must have been aware of the overall project and of its many details. One must wonder if the President was more concerned that Congress would challenge his methods than he was that they would leak the details to our enemies.

Robert W. McJones, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Thanks to Mr. McJones for passing his letter along. Who else feels like sharing? Has anyone gotten a letter published? Heard from an editor?

Here's where you can send those letters.

Here are a couple sample letters. Don't just copy them, but I hope they inspire you. Be personal and thoughtful:
Our leaders insist that it is necessary to listen in on the phone calls of Americans without a warrant and that the warrantless wiretapping is highly targeted. If this is true, Congressional hearings would put to rest many concerns and the application of Congressional oversight and insight might even improve the program.
I have family and friends overseas who I call and email regularly, and I send emails abroad for my work. What assurances can the President or my Congressmen give me that my personal phone calls have not been swept up in the secretive warrantless wiretapping program? I had always assumed that the laws Congress passed 30 years ago were protecting me, but it turns out I may have been wrong. I hope Congress will hold hearings on this issue to ensure that the necessary safeguards are in place.
A different tack:

George Washington was born 274 years ago last week. On leaving the Presidency, he told the Nation: "The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish Government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established Government." In dodging the law which requires warrants before the government listens in on an American's phone calls, President Bush stepped off the path our first President laid out.

At one time, Congress had created no mechanism for surveilling Americans for national security purposes. Presidents were left to make their own rules. When Congress investigated those rules and found that innocent Americans where being wiretapped only because they opposed a particular policy, Congress established guidelines and safeguards. If the current President found those rules too restrictive, he ought to have called on Congress to improve the law. Instead, he chose to evade it. Congress should investigate the program and find a way to protect innocent Americans.
Or (note, may not reflect TfK's actually feelings):
I support the President's decision to tap American citizen's international phone calls without a warrant. If Congress would show how the program protects Americans from terrorism and protects their civil liberties, I bet that would quiet people down. Senator Roberts should hold hearings and show that we're right.
I agree with Senator Brownback that Congress has a role to play in overseeing and supervising intelligence gathering, especially when American citizens are targets. I hope he and Senator Roberts can come together and find a way to listen to terrorists and assure innocent Americans we aren't being listened in on.
Be creative!