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It’s Just Unjust

To the Editor:

I read, with great interest, David King’s article “A Time to Fight” [Newsfrront, July 3].

As a Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in New York’s 21st Congressional District, I wanted to add my voice to the concerns regarding recent action taken in the Congress to revise the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

I do not support retroactive immunity for any industry that violates the law and I do not support secret courts. Judicial power may be abused like any other.

However, the immunity provisions are not the worst aspect of the FISA revisions. There are two major problems with the new law. First, the new FISA revisions extend the time under which the NSA may conduct a wiretap from 72 hours to a week. No need has been demonstrated to increase this time period. Second, the bill gives wholesale approval to bulk monitoring of electronic communications (primarily email and phone calls). This monitoring is based on software algorithms of dubious validity that determine whether or not a person’s behavior patterns suggest that he or she is acting in a way that merits eavesdropping.

This concept, which is really a form of profiling, flies in the face of our longstanding mandates of probable cause and reasonable suspicion that require attention to individual circumstances. As a civil rights attorney, I am aware of no conceivable constitutional basis for this type of surveillance.

The recent revisions to FISA are an example of why I strongly believe that we need members of Congress who will not only challenge a Republican president, but who are also willing to stand up to members of our own party’s leadership when they are wrong.

Phil Steck

Democratic candidate for Congress

New York’s 21st Congressional District

Colonie

Are Too!

To the editor:

The City of Albany is doing its part (creating a Cadet program, an EMT course in the high school, and other examples) to advance the shared cause of increasing minority presence within the ranks of the fire department. Presumably, David King’s article [“Inequality for Dummies,” June 19] was written to help advance this cause as well. His use of Sebastian Banks as the poster child for said cause doesn’t help.

Christopher Bovenzi

Albany

Oops . . .

The review of Doubt: A Parable [Theater, June 19] incorrectly credited Adriane Lenox as the actress who portrayed Mrs. Muller. In the Capital Repertory production, Mrs. Muller was played by Kelly Taffe.

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters addressed to the editor. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length or clarity; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are anonymous, illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

Send to:

Letters, Metroland

419 Madison Ave., Albany, NY 12210

e-mail: metroland@metroland.net

fax: 463-3726


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