Re "Gonzales Defends Spying as 'Limited and Lawful,' " Feb. 7
In his Senate testimony, Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales claimed that "President Washington, President Lincoln, President Wilson, President Roosevelt have all authorized electronic surveillance on a far broader scale."
Putting aside the question of what kind of device Washington might have employed to effect wiretaps in the 18th century -- a pair of tin cans and a very long piece of string? -- I find it interesting that Gonzales neglects to include Richard Nixon on his list of presidential Peeping Toms.
Perhaps Gonzales was hesitant to remind the senators that it was Nixon's wholesale abuse of executive power in the 1960s and '70s that led to the passage of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- the very statute that the current administration finds so troublesome.
Gonzales needs to take a concentrated look at what it means to uphold the law. President Bush cannot bypass my constitutional rights to pursue his personal use of illegal wiretaps. My suggestion is that Gonzales refrain from supporting any notion that my privacy and personal liberties are best kept in a secret box to which Bush has the only key.
Mr. Gonzales, stop treating me like Joe Public, as this president has called private citizens, and start treating me like an American citizen.
ROGER O. BLAIS
I disagree with your Feb. 7 editorial, "The president's mouthpiece." You are right about the judicial hearings. It is not a contest to see who hates Al Qaeda more. It is a contest to see who hates Bush more.
The American citizen is forgotten in these hearings. This is a waste of the taxpayers' money. Bush is more concerned about the people's security than the Democrats are. These so-called wiretaps have been going on for more than four years.
A select group of senators and representatives knew about this. Why didn't they object back then? Funny how there is a midterm election this year.
The American citizen is being hoodwinked again by Congress. Who are the members more concerned about: the terrorist or the American citizen? It appears they are more concerned about the terrorists.
\f7Re "The Power of the President," Feb. 6
Gonzales may agree that no citizen is above the law, but it is painfully obvious he believes that the current administration should be free to ignore it. Between defiance of the Geneva Convention, holding citizens without bringing charges and widespread, willy-nilly wiretapping, this attorney general seems determined to stake his claim on this country's legal landscape with an unparalleled vengeance.
\o7San Luis Obispo