- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 1, 2001

More spies at FBI?

News reports immediately following the arrest of FBI agent Robert Hanssen on espionage charges indicated that "original" Russian documents tipped off investigators to his identity. I would very much like to know the source of those "original" documents. I would be highly suspicious that the source was not clean. An often-used trick of the Soviet KGB (and presumably its successor, the SVR) was to "give up" a valuable agent when an even more important agent risked exposure.

We know the spy agencies of the Soviet Union never rested in their efforts to infiltrate all branches of the U.S. government. (This was true of the media and private organizations as well.) By most accounts, Russian spy activity actually increased after Russia's opening to the West. The Russians (like the Soviets) also prefer to have multiple sources for the same information in order to verify the accuracy and authenticity of that information and ensure their presumed agent is not a double.

Given the relatively lax security standards of the U.S. government, it is safe to assume there are many more spies out there and we have caught just a very small fraction of them. It also is not unrealistic to assume there are other traitors in even higher levels of authority.

Therefore, perhaps of more immediate importance than assessing the damage done by Mr. Hanssen would be for U.S. counterintelligence investigators to use this opportunity to focus aggressively on finding other spies and not overlook the possibility that they unknowingly were recently on the heels of an even more important mole.

JAMES M. SIMPSON

Alexandria

Clinton should be proud of Bush spending plans

With the exception of his modest tax-reduction plan and baby steps to enable some workers to eventually manage a small part of their Social Security investment, President Bush's Tuesday night address to Congress could have been given by former President Clinton.

Numerous expensive new programs were trotted out that will cost tens of billions of dollars. The only difference between the Bush spending plan and the Clinton plans of the past is that we have the money to pay for new spending without a tax increase because of the hard-working American people, our booming economy and the government's continuing to vastly overcharge us. All the money we have been overcharged should be returned to us, not spent on new and enhanced social programs. Having a Republican president, House and Senate is a golden opportunity to reduce government spending, not to increase it beyond the rate of inflation. Mr. Bush is squandering that opportunity.

Mr. Bush stated that no American should pay more than one-third of his or her income to the federal government in income taxes. Our Founding Fathers never dreamed that that much of Americans' hard-earned money could be taken from them to be redistributed, that initiative and ingenuity could be punished to such a mammoth degree.

Mr. Clinton would be proud of the Bush spending plans, and that should be a sobering and frightening thought.

OREN M. SPIEGLER

Pittsburgh

Faith-based initiatives faithful to intent of Founding Fathers

The recent flap over President Bush's multibillion-dollar, faith-based initiative proves how public perception concerning religion's role in government has changed during the past 40 years.

Though the president's plan to supplement religious social service organizations with government funding has been well received, the far left is proclaiming that Mr. Bush's proposal is a major attack on the so-called separation of church and state.

The Founding Fathers, however, saw the division between religion and government as being "one way" in nature. Their primary concern was that government could not prescribe a national faith, as many of the framers had experienced in England. They did not intend for religion to be totally removed from public life, as has taken place in the United States during the latter part of the 20th century.

A greater understanding of the founders' intent can be gained from a review of the Northwest Ordinance. Article III states, "Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."

The draft was prepared by Thomas Jefferson, the man who originally wrote the phrase "separation of church and state." By the way, those words are not found in any formal U.S. document, such as the Constitution. The term "separation of church and state" appeared in a private letter from then-President Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802.

On April 30 of that same year, Jefferson signed the Ohio Enabling Act, making Ohio a state in agreement with the provisions of the Northwest Ordinance. If Jefferson believed there was a impenetrable wall of separation between church and state, he would not have ratified this act just months after his letter to the Danbury Baptist group. During the past century, the vision of religion's role in government has changed dramatically from the Founding Fathers' view. Beginning in the 1940s, the U.S. Supreme Court began creating the current perception the public now has concerning this matter. But the high court's rulings have had their most dramatic effect on the nature of the law itself.

Perhaps the most significant Supreme Court decision on religion and education was Engel vs. Vitale in 1962, the infamous case that removed prayer from public schools. It can be asserted reasonably that this ruling has contributed the most to the secular vision the public has of the nation today. It was a total reversal of the Northwest Ordinance's stipulations for religion's role in education.

Volumes were written by many of the original framers of the Constitution explaining why they felt religion should play such an important role in a free society. In fact, most believed a society without some kind of self-imposed moral restraints would soon decay into anarchy. Some of the societal problems we have witnessed during the past 40 years are, indeed, results of the falsely ascribed barrier between religion and government.

Americans need to educate themselves as to what our country's founders had in mind when it came to this subject. The modern-day perception of church and state does not fit the reality of the framers' vision for America.

DANIEL T. ZANOZA

Crestwood, Ill.

Count every vote

I think it is quite telling that President Bush has won yet another recount in Florida (this time conducted by media organizations), yet a complete tally of the country's votes still has not been conducted ("Again, Bush wins recount of ballots in Florida," Feb. 27). Despite their cries of "count every vote," Democrats never demanded a full count of all absentee ballots. In California alone, they number close to 1 million. Are Democrats afraid Mr. Bush might end up with a majority of votes and destroy the myth that Al Gore won the popular vote?

JAMES TERPENING

Washington

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