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Letters: Smearing Snowden

June 13, 2013

Re "Bent on shining a light on U.S. security," June 11

The Times' negative portrayal of Edward J. Snowden — mentioning in the first paragraph that he was a high school dropout and a failed military recruit — does a disservice. Snowden's leaking of the National Security Agency's extensive surveillance of Americans was patriotic.

The talking point that "national security has been damaged" does not deserve to be repeated. No one has demonstrated that bringing these dirty secrets to light has done anything other than alert U.S. citizens that our government and its private "helpers" are constructing an elaborate surveillance structure that is ripe for abuse.

We must pressure the Obama administration and our weak-kneed members of Congress to come clean on what the NSA has been up to, and attempt to rein in this undemocratic force.

Joe Wainio

San Diego

When did our country move from knowing that someone could be listening — the party line operator or the switchboard operator — to the assumption that no one would ever know anything? Do people realize that their phone numbers are available from multiple sources?

I am opposed to snoops listening without a court order, but collecting numbers called is not a problem for me. What we should be concerned about is effective oversight.

Karen Solheim

Santa Monica

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