The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Letters to the Editor

July 7, 2013

Letters to the Editor 7/7/13

(Continued)

Sincerely,

Lisa Milby

Athens

Surveillance, Snowden and the IRS

Dear Editor:

Is the U.S. government collecting data and monitoring communications for national security purposes? Absolutely. Should they be? Without question.

The government is not listening to your conversations to your aunt Martha swapping recipes, or to your buddy about who hit the longest drive on your latest golf outing. The government collects metadata, or bulk data, which identifies the frequency and location of global communications traffic.

If a security concern arises, only then will they dig into specific cases, and only after approval from Congress and specific warrants from the justice department.

The Department of Defense and National Security Agency can’t sneeze without Congress regulating it, and without getting the proper warrants. Such specific warrants have revealed at least a dozen terrorist plots both foreign and domestic, over the past several years. If you are not sure if the benefits of such a program are worth the intrusion, ask the families of the victims of 9/11 if they would have approved of such a program had it been available back then.

If this program foils one plot that saves one of your family members’ lives, where would you stand on this issue?

Snowden — How did a high-school dropout and military reject (he was released after five months) end up with classified U.S. government information considered sensitive enough to be a national security issue?

Furthermore, how did this person land a government contractor job with a private consulting company making an annual salary of $200,000 at the age of 29, when the company’s own background check turned up discrepancies in his resume pertaining to specific college classes he had listed but had never taken?

Consider this: My brother, after Athens High School, six years in the Air Force, graduating Calhoun and UAH with honors, (dean’s list), numerous master’s degrees, and 31 years with the DOD and NSA where he is top management, had his salary frozen three years ago with all other government employees, at his previous pay grade … at a salary one-half of Snowden’s. 

IRS bonuses — U.S. government employees have had a salary freeze in place for more than three years. How is it possible that top IRS employees are in line to receive bonuses this year? Considering the recent IRS employees’ scandal and massive national debt, where is the justification in allowing these bonuses to be paid?

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