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Homeland Security Shuffle

November 30, 2002

On Monday the president and Congress patted themselves on the back for creating the Department of Homeland Security, a glorified shuffling of the federal bureaucracy ("Homeland Agency Is Big at Birth," Nov. 26). In signing the bill creating the "new" department, President Bush said that its responsibilities would include analyzing possible terrorist threats, monitoring noncitizens traveling inside the U.S. and gathering information to protect U.S. citizens from global hate groups.

Isn't this an admission that the FBI, CIA and Immigration and Naturalization Service, among other federal intelligence agencies, have failed miserably in doing their jobs? What have the thousands of people who work in those agencies been doing all this time as terrorists plotted and then carried out their murderous plans?

How about some real reform within the federal agencies charged with protecting American citizens on our own soil and around the world, so that we don't live in fear that another 9/11 could happen again?

Talk about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Evelyn Jerome

Santa Monica

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Regarding the homeland security bill: I am extremely sure that if Joe Blow's or Ali Abdullah's bank account is surveyed for noticeable jumps by the FBI and CIA, Mr. Big Brother's computer will generate a flash; I am not so sure if this would happen to the "creatively financed" bank accounts of the Enrons and WorldComs or the accounts of those who can afford to lob succulent viands over the wall to our Washington fat cats. Or even those agencies that supply illegal arms to U.S.-supported regimes that continue to backfire on this country and pollute the world with poisons such as depleted uranium. It will clearly accelerate the process of even more U.S. citizens losing faith in the government.

Murtadha A. Khakoo

Fullerton

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Is the cost of liberty in America having to live under the anti-civil rights measures being hawked by the Bush administration? Who decides what is terrorist activity in the homeland security agenda? Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft. Dancing, drugs, abortion and peace activists are offensive to Ashcroft. Let us all be thankful during this holiday period that the Bush-Ashcroft theocrats haven't fully implemented their new social order on America yet.

Ron Lowe

Nevada City, Calif.

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In the name of national security, the Bush administration supports a rollback of civil liberties for terrorist suspects, regardless of U.S. citizenship, and a reduction of labor union rights for federal employees, and now is recommending a comprehensive database on all citizens that will surely trample everyone's right to privacy.

Nonetheless, the Bush administration also continues to support the position of one of its major contributors, the National Rifle Assn., which opposes such a national database on gun purchases. Can't any of them see the hypocrisy and inconsistency?

Allan Brunmier

Torrance

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Re "U.S. Breaks Old Legal Ground," Nov. 25: The Bush administration is using the "war on terror" as a pretext for curtailing civil liberties.

Jose Padilla and John Walker Lindh are both American citizens who were accused of collaborating with Al Qaeda terrorists. Lindh is an American citizen who was captured on foreign soil in actual battle [in Afghanistan] but was formally charged and allowed to have an attorney and due process, eventually entering a guilty plea on advice of counsel.

In contrast, citizen Padilla was plucked off a plane on U.S. soil (Chicago) but is being held indefinitely without charges as an "illegal combatant," though he was nowhere near a battlefield, and (unlike the World War II precedents cited) there is no formal declaration of war.

Bush administration officials keep trying to tell us how much they support Latinos; so why is someone named Jose Padilla held indefinitely without charges, while a white boy named John Walker Lindh is allowed his constitutional rights?

Douglas Dunn

Oceanside

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I can see it now: President Bush continues to hysterically beat the war drums, Ashcroft spreads fear and paranoia like a gardener spreading manure, the Republicans take aim at anyone who doesn't look or think like them and in the near future we are all required to stand in line, raise our right hand and then sign a statement: "I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of Al Qaeda."

Mark Cantor

Agoura Hills

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