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New FBI Guidelines on Surveillance

June 04, 2002

Re "FBI Given Broad Authority to Monitor Public Activities," May 31: The revelations of FBI failures before Sept. 11 surely indicate drastic changes are needed. However, it is difficult to see how Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft's gift of access into our lives will make the FBI more effective. The FBI's failures weren't due to a lack of intelligence (i.e., information) but, rather, a lack of focus and follow-through at the very top of the agency.

The most important piece of information missing is the motivation for those from midlevel up to put up roadblocks for agents doing their best to protect us. This goes beyond what some characterize as a "liberal-minded" fear of racial profiling; the information available went far beyond nationality or religion to real connections with known extremists who had already harmed us. Rather than chipping away at our 4th Amendment rights by allowing further domestic surveillance, Ashcroft might serve us better by finding out why good information gathered under existing surveillance rules went nowhere.

Jan Ducker

Sylmar

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The American law-abiding citizen has no reason to fear the new FBI guidelines. The only people who should fear the new "Big Brother" tactics being implemented by our beleaguered federal law enforcement agencies are terrorists and other major criminals who would normally be investigated by the FBI anyway.

Those of us worried about losing our civil rights need look no farther than the 3,000 people and their families whose constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was taken away on Sept. 11 by a group of cowards who don't care about our rights or even their own. If law enforcement hadn't been "handcuffed" by our national desire to be overly sensitive to the rights of every group of people who hate our guts, then maybe we wouldn't have to deal with the daily procession of funerals and memorial services that these terrorists (who lived and trained in our country) have forced upon us.

Daniel Bennett

Los Angeles

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Shouldn't the FBI try to figure out how to use the information it already has before it goes begging for more?

David Reed

Los Angeles

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I have just one question for M. Salem Garawi, whose June 3 letter attacked FBI surveillance of mosques. In the entire world, which culture, religion or interest group has supported, carried out or celebrated the greatest number of suicide attacks against unarmed women and children over the last 20 years? While the methods that the FBI has been forced to employ may be a "major step backward in American culture," the acts of Muslim extremists around the world have been like something out of the Dark Ages. Garawi seems to suggest we should use our own Constitution as rope to tie our hands and leave our families at the mercy of bloodthirsty killers who worship death and destruction.

John R. Johnson

Encino

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