- The Washington Times - Monday, October 1, 2001

CIA rules haven't discouraged double agents

Your Sept. 25 editorial "Where was George Tenet?" suggests that CIA guidelines on informants involved in human rights abuses have resulted in the "loss of hundreds, if not thousands, of valuable CIA agents around the world" thus hampering the battle against terrorism. Yet CIA spokesman Bill Harlow has said in reference to those same guidelines that the agency "has never turned down a field request to recruit an asset in a terrorist organization."

Under the guidelines, if a field agent wants to recruit an asset with an abusive record, all he or she has to do is gain headquarters approval. Are agents with the courage to infiltrate terrorist groups really too afraid to ask their superiors' permission to do so?

All the guidelines do is provide some oversight of the recruitment of assets who are engaged in abuses the United States otherwise would condemn and who would interpret such recruitment as acquiescence in their actions. Surely you do not want to return to a time when American taxpayers subsidized the likes of Col. Manuel Contreras, the Chilean torturer who organized a deadly car bombing on the streets of Washington? That would undermine the safety of the American people, not to mention the basic values that came under attack on Sept. 11.


Washington advocacy director

Human Rights Watch


Blame Chretien, not Canada

Commentary columnist Arnold Beichman is correct in stating that the Canadian government has behaved disgracefully in the weeks since the terrorist attacks ("Canadian umbrage," Sept. 26). Prime Minister Jean Chretien has been weak, dithering and desperate to avoid taking a firm stance. I certainly hope President Bush had some choice words for him behind closed doors when they met.

I also hope the American people realize that the lack of resolve shown by Mr. Chretien does not reflect the feelings of the majority of the Canadian public. We strongly back America in its attempts to rid the world of the terrorist scourge and are deeply embarrassed that 30 years of neglect have left our military and security services unable to contribute in any meaningful way.


Toronto, Ontario

Greater giving builds a lasting tribute

Your Sept. 27 article "Donation diversion" gives, perhaps, one vision of the future of giving in our nation. This great outpouring from the good, giving heart of America is a wonderful thing. The $500 million directed to disaster relief efforts for the victims and families of the Sept. 11 attacks shows that Americans are involved and that they do care. We have learned a lot about ourselves as a nation over the past days about the deep, abiding care we have for our fellow Americans. We must never forget how we felt on Sept. 11 and in the days and weeks that followed.

At the same time, we must remember that there are many other causes that also need our help. All across our great nation, charities are helping people with cancer and diabetes, keeping children safe from abuse, providing job training and protecting both human rights and the environment. At America's Charities, we feel that a lasting tribute to the victims and the heroes of the Sept. 11 tragedy would be to extend what we have learned about ourselves about this spirit of giving and caring to the charities that work every day in thousands of communities helping improve the lives of millions of Americans.

Let's make a commitment to increase our giving by 20 percent next year. Instead of writing a $30 check to the local shelter for the homeless, write it for $36. Make a contribution to fight drug abuse for $60 instead of $50. Over time, the extra $50 or $100 we have given to charities, multiplied by the contributions from millions of other giving hearts, can produce additional billions. That truly will be an enduring tribute to both the victims and the heroes of that terrible day.


President and chief executive

America's Charities


Don't short-circuit electric transport

If a new consumer technology doesn't demonstrate mass appeal upon its initial launch into the market, should it be scrapped? You seem to think so, having suggested in your editorial that if electric transportation technologies cannot compete in volume and price with a conventional, gasoline-powered car they simply shouldn't be pursued ("Electric cars to the rescue?" Sept. 23). Following this line of thinking, we would have relegated to the "almost a good idea" garbage bin everything from televisions to microwave ovens to personal computers, and heaven forbid cellular telephones.

Products intended for a mass consumer market generally require high volume to achieve the lowest price. It is well-documented that low-volume new technology translates to an initial higher cost. However, it also is well-understood that as volumes increase and the technology and manufacturing processes mature, prices fall. Electric transportation technologies from battery electric to hybrid electric and fuel-cell electric vehicles cannot enter the market ready to compete with vehicles that are powered by petroleum-based fuels and have a 100-year advantage in technology refinements and volume manufacturing. It will take time, consumer education and eventual volume pricing for these products to be the consumer's choice.

Government officials from President Bush to mayors and members of city councils across the country recognize that electric transportation products offer a huge "bang for the buck" in furthering national objectives from weaning ourselves away from a dangerous reliance on crude oil imported from the most politically unstable regions of the world, to cleaning the air in our cities, to finding ways to use domestically produced fuels as well as renewable energy resources. Tax credits, local purchase buy-downs and even access to car-pool lanes are ways that government can help jump-start the market. With investment from government, we can make the new electric car technologies attractive to consumers, who are beginning to recognize (as evidenced by long waiting lists for available hybrid vehicles) the important personal advantages of low fuel and maintenance costs; a smooth, quiet and fun driving experience and the contribution to our communities that comes from cleaner air and energy security.

With the help of government in the early market days, we can march electric transportation technologies down the price curve, up the volume curve and into the hands of American consumers. The opportunity to ensure continued, affordable personal mobility without environmental degradation exists with electric transportation. It's a good investment in our future.


Executive director

The Electric Vehicle Association of the Americas


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