"Why all aren't heeding call to quiz Arabs" (Nov. 4) shows the absurdity of technical interpretations of the Constitution. Where were those interpreters when American Japanese were disposed of their property and freedom in 1942? It would have made a lot of sense to have interviewed those valuable citizens of the United States to find out all we could about the enemy.
We are afraid to interview those who might know something about an enemy because of interpretations of the Constitution. There is an urgent need for US security agencies to know about the practices of Islam and also about the peoples in the Middle East, from Algeria to Afghanistan. The security of the US and the free world depends on it. I would expect peace-loving people from Arab countries living in the US would be willing and ready to cooperate with security agencies. Information is critical to answering questions during these times of insecurity.
Gary Rowland Nanaimo, B.C.
I agree with James Schlesinger's support of using strong powers against suspected terrorists expressed in Over Breakfast (Nov. 21). Civilian courts and procedures may be hamstrung in dealing with suspects when evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt is lacking, too time consuming, or too difficult to obtain. The ability to move speedily, in secret, on limited or sensitive evidence, can be useful in a time of crisis.
However, the idea that terrorists don't deserve civil liberties makes no sense. The question is not what liberties to give terrorists, but how and who determines with what legal safeguards who is a terrorist. If we want to deprive suspects of traditional civil liberties, let us be frank about it. Let us openly admit there are times we care more about national security than the welfare of the possibly innocent. Then let us openly discuss the empirical evidence needed to determine if it is necessary to resort to such measures. So far, the administration has claimed the power without publicly making the case.
Frederic A. Moritz Mebane, N.C.
American Human Rights Reporting Abroad
Teaching the world to hack
Regarding "Paris school offers primer for cyberpirates" (Dec. 3): I would be disappointed if French authorities forced Zi Hackademy to close. Hacking, already a problem for decades, won't be halted by censorship. Understandable information on security problems is of great value to system administrators and law enforcement. An exposed problem is a potentially closed problem. Rather than sending Clad Strife scurrying back into the underworld, one might hope he will open more schools worldwide.
Marc W. Abel Powell, Ohio
While reading about the school for hackers, I was reminded of a driver education class I once took. We made a field trip to the local car dealer to be instructed on emergency mechanics. We were shown how to change a flat tire safely and then shown the engine compartment and what things to look after. The mechanic who was our instructor was asked to show the procedure for hot-wiring. At this point, the instructor closed the engine compartment hood and said, "good night, folks."
Robert Donaldson Bath, Maine
Safety first, baseballs second
Mulling over the story regarding Alex Popov and Patrick Hayashi's feud over Barry Bonds's home-run ball, I began wondering about the law professors who are more concerned with the "possession" issue than the assault on Mr. Popov. Or, are we to expect when raising our baseball gloves to catch a home run in a major league baseball stadium to be brutalized while security guards stand by? Is this not an important issue to be raised in this public debate?
Renee Reed Port Angeles, Wash.
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