Eavesdropping provides ‘security,’ but at what cost?

Posted: Monday, February 20, 2006

Regarding What others say (Clarion Feb. 16). There are no simple answers to complex questions. However, the author’s opinion simplifies the call monitoring issue rather naively and with a rather paranoid disposition.

To begin with he assumes (and rightfully so) that anyone can slip through our oh so flawed, yet expensive and bothersome airport securities. The culprit is in Alaska, ready to blow us away, but needs to confirm his orders with al Qaeda headquarters in Iraq or Afghanistan. This he accomplishes by nonchalantly placing a direct call from, say, his hotel room, and that’s where our eavesdroppers catch him and, voila, Alaska has been saved! Remember, we didn’t catch him coming in. We are not aware of his presence. So whose calls do we monitor? And is he really ignorant enough to place a direct call from a regular phone to Iraq or Afghanistan?

The real issue with call monitoring isn’t terrorism at all. It is just how much of our personal freedoms are we willing to sacrifice for the “good” of all?

I’m not so sure the terrorists are planning any big attacks on us in the near future. They already have us where they want us, namely scared, intimidated, spending billions on homeland security, and taking upon us any personal inconveniences — even harassments — in the name of our safety. Didn’t Osama bin Ladin say, he’ll defeat us by bankrupting us?

Benjamin Franklin made a very wise statement which seems to apply here: They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Judy Humphrey


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