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September 20, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Chicken Little mentality prevails

It is an easy conclusion that government agencies never do any cost-benefit analysis. It doesn’t take much research to uncover a multitude of areas where there exists a much more likely exposure to real peril.

I am not saying don’t be vigilant, but I will say the Transportation Security Administration and the National Security Agency are way overbloated, according to actual-risk assessments.

If they can justify costing a trillion dollars, then we should be spending a quadrillion dollars on home hazard assessment to prevent falls. Bathtubs, arachnids, fires via frying turkeys and Christmas trees are more statistically significant than terrorist attacks, and those are just a few minor examples of the skewed “sky is falling, no liberty and still no safety” bubble we are trapped in.

I resent them spending all that time and effort to have us live in fear with their Chicken Little mentality while it is much riskier skateboarding, riding a scooter or going out for a walk. (Be wary of your toothpick.)

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  1. The trouble with "easy conclusions" is they're often a reflex to intellectual laziness and/or a lack of understanding of complex issues. This letter provides an excellent example.

  2. Letter writer is correct. The federal Government has gotten so big that it is now the 4th branch: Judicial, Legislative, Executive and Government. Worst, no one is in charge: The Government reports to no one [takes the 5th Amendment]; is accountable to no one [passes the buck and the buck doesn't stop anywhere]; and, it does whatever it likes whenever it likes [at taxpayers' expense]. What sector of the economy has felt no impact/effect of the Great Recession? Answer: The Government in Washington, DC inside the beltway. In fact, it's expanded. It's increased in size, numbers, dollars and scope while everything else has retrenched.

    Carmine D

  3. The letter writer is not in tune to the fact of what terrorists would like to do,and that is to keep killing Americans any way they can.

    Since 9/11 the NSA has prevented 50 different terrorist attacks. Which would have resulted in the deaths of thousands of Americans all over our country.

    No chicken little mentality here, just good intelligence work put to good use in saving lives, and protecting the home front.

  4. Sam:

    NSA and FBI both missed the Tsarneav brothers' connection and their Islamic terrorism in the Boston massacre. It was there as plain as day. But, sadly it takes human intervention to find, research and follow up. Same with the Ft. Hood massacre and Major Hasan. Humans dropped the ball and innocent people suffered loss of lives and limbs.
    Carmine D

  5. Carmine,

    You only point out the 2 attacks that were not nipped in the bud.Sadly no mention by you of the over 50 attempted attacks that were prevented from happening by The NSA,and the FBI. Is because we have A Democratic President Named Obama ?

    The Bush/Cheney administration had a warning from the Clinton administration, that Al-queda was planning an attack on the U.S. (9/11). This is where 3,000 Americans were killed. So what happened ?

  6. Bychuck333,

    Sam says:" The Bush/Cheney administration had a warning from the Clinton administration, that Al-queda was planning an attack on the U.S. (9/11)."

    "And Sam Bill Clinton had a chance to get Bin Laden from Sudan in the 90's and didn't take it. What do you think about that?"

    I'll go one better than that in the battle of Tora Bora in Afghanistan on Dec.12 - 17th, U.S. forces had Bin Laden cornered at that time and Bush had a chance to get him, only to have him escape. Six months after 9/11 Bush stated "truly I am not that concerned about him" Bush said this at a white house press conference on March 13,2002.

    It was only after Obama became President that he ordered Navy seal team 6 to go after Osama Bin Laden in May of 2011,at which time he was killed by the seal team. I hope I have answered your question.

  7. Some comments on the 6:13 am post by samspeaks (sam pizzo)"

    "Since 9/11 the NSA has prevented 50 different terrorist attacks." <Did it now. Name five - that's only 10%. And no other agency participated? Not ONE??>

    "Which would have resulted in the deaths of thousands of Americans all over our country." <Or maybe hundreds. Or maybe tens. Or maybe only one or two. Deal in facts, not maybes. Remember how many people the "shoe bomber" actually killed?>

    "No chicken little mentality here, just good intelligence work put to good use in saving lives, and protecting the home front." <And not even a trace of good, old-fashioned police work by agencies which are supposed to specialize in that? If true, why should we continue paying for those agencies? WE should turn my RPD, your Metro PD, and all the others over to the Feds.>

  8. Bychuck333,

    "Oh and yes the president did get Bin Laden mainly because of the techniques used by the Bush administration on getting intelligence.Heck my kid could have made that call."

    If your kid could have made that call getting Bin Laden,then why didn't Bush make it.What do you think about that.

  9. By renorobert,

    "Since 9/11 the NSA has prevented 50 different terrorists attacks"
    <Did it now.Name five that's only 10%.And no other agency participated ? Not one ?? >"

    NAS director Army General Keith Alexander says spy programs helped prevent 50 potential terrorists attacks.

    You asked for me to name 5 of these attacks that were stopped before they happened,they are listed below.

    (1) Richard Reid,shoe bomber Dec.2001 attempted to blow up plane with perhaps hundreds of passengers and crew.

    (2) Jose Padilla May 2002 at O'hare airport planning to use dirty bomb in an attack in the U.S. casualties could have been in the thousands,maybe more.

    (3) Uzair and Saifullah Paracha Mar.2003 planned to bomb underground storage tanks at Maryland gas stations. Potential casualties anywhere from 1 to perhaps 100's.

    (4) Lyman Faris May 2003 Conspiracy to use blowtorches to collapse Brooklyn bridge. Potential casualties anywhere from a few to several hundred,or more.

    (5) Nuradin M.Abdi Nov.2003 Arrested and charged in a plot to bomb a local shopping mall.Potential casualties anyone's guess.

    These are just 5 of the more than 50 that the NAS director Gen.Alexander says were prevented from happening. The NSA does the spying and passes the information on to the respected law enforcement agencies,and they take it from there.

    I'm sure you had some kind of idea that other law enforcement agencies had a hand in preventing these attacks,didn't you ?

  10. Sam:

    You can't site proof of a negative. It's an easy and indisputable claim to make. The Government is very good at it.

    Carmine D

  11. "(1) Richard Reid,shoe bomber Dec.2001 attempted to blow up plane with perhaps hundreds of passengers and crew."

    Sam:

    If I recall correctly there was "human intelligence" that also corroborated this incident in advance which was more critical in the nabbing of this terrorist than the NSA data.

    Carmine D

  12. "Carmine,

    You only point out the 2 attacks that were not nipped in the bud."

    Sam:

    I cited the two most recent attacks on U.S. soil [2009 and 2013] that the NSA flubbed despite the NSA data sweeps in full force. Yours, on the other hand, are very old. Long before the NSA was in full gear with mega data sweeps.

    Carmine D

  13. Carmine,

    "If I recall correctly there was human intelligence that also corroborated the incident in advance which was more critical in the nabbing of this terrorist then the NSA data."

    This attempted terrorist attack was listed as one of the 50 such attacks by the spy agency,they are making the claim, and I'm just repeating it. There are 45 other attempted terroristed attacks that I did not mention.There also could be some gray areas in some of these attempts. We will just have to believe that our Government is looking and working for our best interests and safety.

  14. "We will just have to believe that our Government is looking and working for our best interests and safety."

    Trust but verify...

    Carmine D

  15. Carmine,

    " I cited the two most recent attacks on U.S. soil [ 2009 and 2013 ] that the NSA flubbed despite the NSA data sweeps in full force. Yours, on the other hand,are very old.Long before the NSA was in full gear with mega data sweeps."

    It doesn't matter if a attack is old or new. If it was stopped in it's tracks from causing death and destruction,credit is due to the agency. There are also 45 other terrorists attempts that I had not mentioned in a earlier post with more recent dates that I did not mention,look them up.

  16. Carmine,

    "Trust but verify..."

    I sleep better at night without the worry of having to verify if our government is working in our best interests.Until something is proven different about whats being done to keep us safe,I'll stick with the government's version of events as they unfold.

  17. Sam:

    Having faith in Government is good; having blind faith is dangerous. I sleep better when I have proof.

    Carmine D

  18. Chuck333,
    I did answer your question you were to slow on the draw to pick up on it.

    On my July 1, 2:37 p.m. post I clearly stated."I'll go one better than that in the battle of Tora Bora in Afghanistan on Dec.12-17th. U.S. forces had Bin Laden cornered at that time and Bush had a chance to get him only to have him escape."

    If you weren't so bent on looking for a argument in everyone's post you would have picked up on what I wrote.

    The key words were "'ll go one better than that." That is agreeing with you without having to spell it out for you.I'll use more caution when responding next time,if I decide to.

    Bush was incapable of doing anything,and if he was capable he would have done something.Even your kid knows that.

  19. Carmine,

    "Having blind faith is dangerous"

    Your starting to sound like an attorney in a court room.Our country didn't get this far with lying to us a daily basis.A lot politicians lie we all know that,and when they get caught they pay for at at the polls.

  20. Samspeaks (sam pizzo) listed 5 terroist attacks stopped by the NSA in his 9:46 p.m. post.

    1) Richard Reid,shoe bomber Dec.2001 - No NSA involvement - Identified by am alert flight attendant and subdued by flight attendants and passangers.

    2) Jose Padilla May 2002, planning to use a dirty bomb - no apparent NSA involvement - arrested initially on a material witness warrant stemming from the Sept 11 attacks.

    3) Uzair Paracha Mar.2003 planned to bomb underground storage tanks - Insufficient data. Regarding Saifullah Paracha - arrested by an unspecified agency (not the FBI) in Bangkok. Charged as an "enemy combatant" and interred at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. He has yet to be formally charged with anything other than being an "enemy combatant", much less convicted. If NSA is involved, they may not want to brag about this.

    4) Lyman Faris May 2003 Conspiracy to use blowtorches to collapse Brooklyn bridge. Arrested by the FBI - while working as a double agent for the FBI. Charged and convicted - on charges having nothing whatsoever to do with the Brooklyn Bridger fiasco. Faris apparently looked at an idea originated by others, and decided the operation was unlikely and sent a message to Pakistani backers calling the operation off.

    5) Nuradin M.Abdi Nov.2003 Arrested and charged in a plot to bomb a local shopping mall. He was charged with Conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaeda, and two counts of fraud and misuse of documents. Pled guilty to one count of conspiring to support terrorists. Not a word about the "plot."

    Five claims: Two clearly false, three so muddled that that any precise facts have long since vanished. This is the problem with any claims the NSA may make - they so thoroughly muddle the waters that there is absolutely NO WAY to confirm ANYTHING it says. Of course, the NSA is all too eager to prove its worth, so it's claims are open to doubt as being "over-blown" at the best. The latest: on March 12, Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee and was asked point blank "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" His response was brief and quite specific: "No, sir"

  21. Samspeaks (sam pizzo) argues, at 5:41 a.m.: "We will just have to believe that our Government is looking and working for our best interests and safety."

    Why? Despite evidence to the contrary - going back decades. Remember the Tonkin Gulf attack? The Bay of Pigs fiasco? Iran-Contra? Ad nauseum.

  22. "Why? Despite evidence to he contrary-going back decades.Remember the Tonkin Gulf attack? The Bay of pigs fiasco? Iran Contra Ad nauseam."

    You can relocate to another part of the world if you would like. I'll take my chances here in the good old USA,even with all it's faults and mistakes.

  23. Renorobert,

    "Five claims:Two clearly false,three so muddled that any precise facts have long since vanished."

    You asked for 5,and I provided 5.The NSA listed these and 45 others for a total of 50 terrorist attacks that they and other law enforcement agencies prevented from happening.

    The other 45 terrorist attacks that the NSA claims it prevented from happening are out there for you to view.It may take you some time to sift through them all and find the ones that you believe are not worthy of the NSA claims.

  24. Sam:

    With blind faith, the crooked politicians [aka Government] would never have been caught. It was "trust but verify" that brought them to justice.

    Carmine D

  25. Samspeaks (sam pizzo): You're perfectly welcome to "...take my chances here in the good old USA,even with all it's faults and mistakes."

    I prefer to stick around and try to FIX some of those faults and mistakes...

  26. renorobert,

    "I prefer to stick around and try to FIX some of those faults and mistakes..."

    That sounds very American and supportive, especially the 4th. of July being tomorrow.