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Student Faces Stiff Term for Testing the System

October 31, 2003

Re "Tough Sentencing on Trial in Airline Security Breach," Oct. 25: We really have a cockeyed administration when a young man exposes the weakness of our airline security system and could now be subject to a tough prison sentence. Nathaniel Heatwole, by his actions, can only have improved the airline security system and made flying safer. His intent was to better the system, not beat it. But now Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft will say that Heatwole broke the law and has to be punished. To justify his action, Ashcroft will say that Heatwole should have found another way to do what he did. But let us not forget that Heatwole sent an e-mail to the authorities explaining what he had done, and it took weeks before the authorities discovered it.

I, for one, as an airline passenger, will feel more secure for Heatwole's action and feel that the government should pin a medal on him rather than a prison uniform.

Bernard Rapkin

Los Angeles

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