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Published:February 7th, 2006 15:17 EST
SOP writer lashes out at columnist

SOP writer lashes out at columnist

By Brandon Jennings

What does it take to be a columnist at one of the most respected newspapers in the college scene these days? Not strict attention to detail. Today’s Daily Athenaeum was defaced with a column written by Charley Reese. It was an in-depth analysis of the surveillance policies of the United States. He makes a valid point at the end of the article -the same point that the founders of the constitution made. That a “government power that isn’t checked will just keep growing.” That is a very brilliant regurgitation of facts there, Mr. Reese.

Now for the rest of the article, Reese makes it a point to sum up very quickly his wealth of knowledge about the spies in the CIA. He states that CIA officers are not spies themselves. They are “Case Officers.” Well, that is great that you have figured it out for all of us Mr. Reese. I guess the CIA is going to have to completely reevaluate its system of operations in order to fool people like you. How could you possibly know how this system works without having been a part of it? And from your background information there was no mention of a stint in the CIA. Although as a fellow veteran I do give you kudos for your two years as a tank gunner.

So how do you know? I have a top secret clearance, but I definitely wasn’t given all the top secret information on the CIA’s operating procedures. So I would guess you weren’t either, and you just figured that your readers were too dumb to call you on it –wrong.

Moving right along into the next part of your article worth discussing, I would like to say that your guess about what the NSA is doing to intercept terrorists’ phone calls is a good one. They probably do just snag the calls from Arab Americans, Muslims and people who have last names that look Arabian. But your science fictional description of just grabbing phone calls out of the air is obscure and frankly utter nonsense. To keep people from falling asleep by going into a serious discussion regarding the complexities of how wireless communications works I will leave it at “that is wrong” and move on. If anyone really wants to know, they’ll look it up. I only wish you had.

Finally, what is a terrorist? How do you know? It is nearly impossible to know until it’s too late. That’s the whole point. Of course they don’t call people and say “Can I interest you in a bomb making kit?” That is so absurd it loses its meager ability to bring a half grin to the most brain dead of readers. Is it a mass invasion of privacy as opposed to a selective one? Of course it is, but at least get your facts straight. I expect a little more intelligent dissection of current events out of such a highly ranked school paper, especially when the columnist isn’t even a student, and he’s been writing for 49 years. I’m not afraid to say I voted for John Kerry. But what I am scared of is what you said in “Vote for a Man, Not a Puppet.”

“It would be good to have a man in the White House who has killed people face to face. Killing people has a sobering effect on a man and dispels all illusions about war.”

I can honestly say that the idea of John Kerry killing people face to face had absolutely nothing to do with my decision. And if half of America had thought of it that way, Bush probably would have won by a larger margin.

Next time, maybe you should talk about how some of the soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen were given a choice by a judge to serve a sentence or serve their country. Perhaps you can condense every man and woman in the military into the category of second chance citizens who got off too easy.  You already did it with spies.