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Letters to the editor

- The Washington Times - Friday, June 15, 2007

Romney's luck of the draw

Mitt Romney's gathering strength, picked up in Donald Lambro's Monday commentary "Romney rolling forward?" is a manifestation of a strong conservative reaction to President Bush's leadership style. Mr. Romney is reaching people with the message of competence, of which a dearth is perceived in the current administration. His history of using the red pen to nix many disagreeable bills in a blue state seems like appropriate training for the next Republican president, who will likely face an opposition Congress.

His strongest opposition may be Rudolph W. Giuliani, and not simply because of his famed performance after September 11. Somewhere buried in the gut of many conservatives is the deeply unsettling possibility of another Clinton in the White House; Hillary Rodham Clinton is no John Kerry. She may best be bested by combating fire with the same. Mr. Giuliani appears to fit the bill better than Mr. Romney's ordinariness.

PHIL BRAND

Arlington

LOST at sea

I found Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte and Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England's case for accession to the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) hollow and unfounded ("Reap the bounty," Op-Ed, Wednesday). This treaty would decrease our national security and create an anti-free market environment. These were the objections that President Ronald Reagan raised in the 1980s, and they still apply today.

Why would we want to cede authority to the United Nations, an organization that is fraught with corruption and an anti-American attitude?

The treaty will create the International Seabed Authority (ISA), a UN organization with control of 70 percent of the world's surface. The ISA would have power to levy international taxes and hand down binding decisions from a multinational court system. It would also have jurisdiction over all ocean research and exploration and the power to deny access to strategic ocean minerals.

The column states, "[The treaty] would make U.S. leadership more credible and compelling, in important multi-national efforts like the Proliferation Security Initiative." However, Edwin Meese, former attorney general during the Reagan administration, specifically explains how the treaty would actually hamper PSI.

"The sorts of at-sea interdiction efforts central to our new Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) would be prohibited under LOST. The treaty effectively prohibits two functions vital to American security: intelligence-collection in, and submerged transit of, foreign territorial waters." Mr. Meese explains in Human Events, "Mandatory information-sharing would afford enemies data that could be used to facilitate attacks. Obligatory technology transfers would equip adversaries with sensitive and militarily useful equipment and knowledge."

The column opens with, "From the earliest days of its history, the United States has relied on the bounty and opportunity of the seas for sustenance, for economic development, for defense and for communication and interaction with the rest of the world." It is this for this very reason that we should reject the Law of the Seas Treaty.

JONATHAN KRIVE

Arlington

No get-out-of-jail free card for Libby

I continue to be confounded by the aggressively asserted notion that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr. deserves a pass on his conviction for perjury ("Let Libby scoot home free," William F. Buckley Jr., Commentary, Wednesday).

Mr. Libby functioned at the highest level of the Bush administration, performing in accord with its stated objectives. He willingly accepted that role and the accountability it conferred.

The rationale for overlooking his perjury is that there was no underlying crime. It would appear, then, that all Mr. Libby had to do when asked whether he had ever told the press the name of Valerie Plame was to say yes. He would be home free, as is Richard Armitage, the man who first exposed her name to the media. Instead Mr. Libby, claiming memory lapse, lied.

Mr. Libby accepted what he believed were the perks of operating in the rarified atmosphere of the vice president's office but rejects the responsibility component, as do all his defenders. He chose to run interference for his boss.

Running interference is a challenging and dangerous position. Sometimes you get hurt.

JOAN SALEMI

West Springfield

Farmers are shuckers, too

It is not surprising that National Corn Growers Association President Ken McCauley uses the term free market pejoratively (Reusable fuels: Good goal, good policy," Commentary, Sunday), as it is the free market that stands in the way of his profit. Instead of allowing supply and demand to determine the price of corn, the corn lobby wants Congress to raise the price of corn, guaranteeing that growers reap record profits while consumers have to pay more for groceries.

In 2005, at the NCGA's behest, Congress mandated that 7.5 billion gallons of bio fuels (in practice, corn-based ethanol) be incorporated into the nation's fuel supply. Ethanol demand skyrocketed and with it, demand for corn. One result was higher gas prices. Another was higher bread prices.

But corn is also the primary feed for livestock, so the corn price increase has led to higher prices for beef, bacon, milk and eggs. Farmers are devoting more arable land to corn and less to other grains, leading to decreased supply and, therefore, higher prices for those grains.

Americans are paying on average 4 percent more for groceries because of this mandate. Greedy for more, the corn lobby wants to double the mandate to 15 billion gallons. If Congress accedes to Mr. McCauley's demands, it will be putting his wealth before the welfare of the American consumer.

WILLIAM YEATMAN

Energy policy analyst

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Washington

Sealing the breach

Over the past two years, more than 155 million Americans have had their personal information lost, stolen or compromised by data security breaches.

Unfortunately, government agencies are not immune to data breaches. This problem, as illustrated by last year's theft of a Department of Veteran's Affairs laptop containing 26 million individuals' personal data, is wide-spread and needs to be seriously considered.

Recently, I introduced the Federal Agency Data Breach Protection Act, which would require government agencies to take breaches of personal data more seriously and hold them to higher standards. Currently, when information is compromised, agencies have no obligation to notify citizens. When it comes to individuals and their identities, this practice is unacceptable. My legislation will require agencies to send out an alert when breaches happen. Additionally, it requires agencies to establish procedures to better account for all Federal personal property assigned to departing employees.

Security breaches in government agencies have become all too familiar and this is inexcusable.Consumers cannot protect themselves from the particularly damaging consequences of a data breach, such as identity theft, if they are not aware that the incident occurred. It is my intent to restore the public's faith in sharing necessary personal information with our government. The public deserves nothing less than complete security and disclosure when their identities are at stake.

SEN. NORM COLEMAN

Washington