Sunday, March 18, 2007

Can We Trust our Federal Police?

Max Wood, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, took exception to a headline for a recent Telegraph editorial, "We Can't Trust our Federal Police." Below is Wood's letter to the editor on the subject, published last Thursday. Keep scrolling, and you will find my husband's response, published today in the Telegraph.

Irresponsible headline
I was deeply disappointed at the irresponsible headline on the editorial page of March 13 Telegraph. The editorial, entitled "We can't trust our federal police" referred to a story in a national newspaper pointing out mistakes made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in its interpretation of the Patriot Act.
Not only was the headline an insult to hundreds of thousands of federal law enforcement agents, it was also a misleading interpretation of the facts of the report.
The USA Patriot Act, which The Telegraph regularly criticizes, contains numerous oversight and cross checking responsibilities to insure abuses don't occur. The discovery of improperly issued "National Security Letters" was the result of internal Inspector General investigations, in other words, a self-inspection required by the Patriot Act. Agencies that can't be trusted typically don't engage in rigorous self-inspection.
All across America federal law enforcement agents put their lives on the line to protect the United States and its citizens. Painting the whole profession with such a broad brush as was done by your editorial headline both demoralizes the profession and is disturbing to the community and our nation.

Maxwell Wood, United States Attorney

Shoe on other foot
I have to admit that I read with some amusement our U.S. attorney's outrage over a recent editorial in The Telegraph that he asserts "demoralizes" all federal law enforcement agents.
Given that we have endured over six years of the Bush administration that has manipulated intelligence to get us into a hopeless war, has sent our young men and women into that war without adequate support or plan, has authorized and condoned human rights abuses including those at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, has been caught several times conducting unauthorized and illegal surveillance of innocent citizens, and has fired U.S. Attorneys for not doing the administration's bidding, please forgive us if we have concerns that our federal law enforcement may not obey the law in the course of doing its job.
I certainly agree that it would be unfair to blanketly condemn any group of people for the sins of a few. However, those who have dared to criticize the Bush administration have been repeatedly labeled as unpatriotic and as encouraging the terrorists. It is ironic to hear complaints from the other side of the aisle when the shoe is on the other foot.

Daryl J. Morton, Macon


Tina said...

Whatever happened to the Republicans of yore who used to be mainly interested in fiscal responsibility and government staying out of people's personal business? These days our government is in debt up to its eyeballs and wants to pry into every aspect of the lives of citizens, including stuff like when they can discontinue life support for brain dead relatives. This is not the WORST I have seen---I mean, who among those of us who lived through it could ever forget some of the horrors of the 1960s --but it is certainly DIFFERENT and not a little scary.

Vic said...

Very well said Daryl & Tina! But please let's save the shoe symbolism for Georgia Improper. :-)