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Fostering Domestic Spying

July 27, 2002

Re "United We Stand, but We'll Snoop Divided," Commentary, July 22: Robert Levy has it all wrong! TIPS (the Terrorism Information and Prevention System) is a great idea. I have a question, though. If I see a utility person acting suspiciously, should I flag down a UPS or FedEx driver and ask him or her to call in a report?

However, this is a trivial point and trivia should not prevent implementation. And what better way to launch the program than with an example from our glorious leaders?

So, then, anyone notice who went in and out of Vice President Dick Cheney's office when the energy policy was being drafted?

Tony O'Doherty

Thousand Oaks

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I have to agree with the general intent of Levy's piece but I find the idea that "the administration's motives may indeed be pure" either ironic or an insult to common sense. All that I can see since the Florida debacle is duplicity and double standards.

Here is an example: Operation TIPS is designed, according to Barbara Comstock from the Justice Department, "to allow American workers to share information they receive in the regular course of their jobs in public places and areas." Is the White House a public place? The answer is a resounding "No!" if we trust the Bush administration and the "purity" of its (patriotically driven) motives as it now moves to " ... Tighten Loose Lips, Stop Leaks to Media" (July 21).

If we the people are going to be subjected to snoops, why is the FBI considering taking the step of using polygraph exams to try to "plug leaks" on the part of members of Congress and their staffs? I tend to believe the average Joe in this country is a lot more likely to be hurt by the "greed" strain of terrorism than any other variety (religious fundamentalist). The places where we do need to unleash Operation TIPS, sniffing dogs, snoops and whistle blowers are precisely in the White House, the halls of Congress and the boardrooms of corporate America.

What is the definition of "terrorist"? A person who terrorizes or frightens others (Webster's). How many working class (not oil class!) people in this country now live in a state of fear because they see their life's earnings on the chopping block? I would guess that a lot more people are going to suffer from this feeding frenzy of "corporate deregulation" than all the tragic victims of Sept. 11 and all the innocents who lost their lives in the terror in Ireland and the Middle East put together.

Marco Elliott

San Pedro

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