- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 1, 2002

FBI spread too thin

"Too much focus on being cops" (Page 1, Wednesday) provided an important service by exposing how the FBI over the past decade has made intelligence a "low priority" and focused too much on ordinary street crime.
It should be noted, however, that Congress also is to blame for constantly passing new criminal statutes, often of dubious constitutionality, to appear to be doing something about crime. New bills on issues such as church burning, hate crimes, gun control, access to abortion clinics and hundreds of other matters have ballooned the areas of responsibility for the FBI and other federal agencies into law enforcement areas previously the responsibility of states. There is no sound reason for the FBI to be investigating local crimes such as prostitution, arson, cattle rustling or odometer tampering.
Though at the moment the FBI has transferred hundreds of agents from its criminal division to help with the terrorism investigations, there is still no sign that the FBI intends to make these changes permanent. What is needed is for Congress to repeal most of the 4,000 criminal statutes it has passed over the years, which are duplicative of state laws. This would allow the FBI to focus on its new core function (which it never should have lost) counterintelligence and counterterrorism.

Coalition for Local Sovereignty

KKTlacks the Irish gift for gab, but she is full of malarkey

There are additional interesting items regarding Friday's editorial "KKT, crime-fighter," which laid bare the shortcomings of Maryland gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's efforts to fight crime.
As the editorial stated, "The lieutenant governor has dismissed the [federal] investigation" into the governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention, which she headed, as "political garbage." Subsequently, she said that her role was to set policy, not deal with the details of how or where the office distributed $16 million in federal money.
Her statement raises several important questions. First, does she call the disbursement of $16 million in federal funds a detail? Second, did she set the policy of telling the University of Maryland to hire and pay 68 people, stipulating that they were not to be supervised by the university but by her office, or was that another mere detail? Third, how does she know the investigation is "political garbage" if she is not aware of the details?
The editorial also mentioned her dual support of the death penalty and a death-penalty moratorium. It would have been worth quoting her explanation for this stance, only because it is so unquotable. In the Aug. 10 edition of the Baltimore Sun, Mrs. Townsend said she favored the death penalty "because of the prison guards." Why? KKT: "Just psychologically. You know you're, um, you're keeping people in, in um, uh, maybe they were, they were condemned to solitary confinement. You, know, what do you do, passing food under the door. It just, so, it wasn't, it wasn't, the main purpose wasn't the prison guards. But you think about what happens to them, and you think, these people who had committed a crime really had done bad things."
Recently KKT asked and answered her own question: "How do you trust what somebody is actually going to do? You have to look at the past." An objective look at her past performance on crime and other issues raises the question of whether she is qualified to be governor.

Silver Spring

Fired up over forest commentary

I have read some ill-conceived notions about managing (or mismanaging) natural resources but none so poorly thought out as Steve Chapman's "Fighting forest fires and losing" (Commentary, Wednesday). Moving a town away from the continually flooding Mississippi River is plain common sense, but abandoning the thinning of trees and clearing of underbrush as a fire-prevention technique on the basis that we cannot ultimately prevail is absurd.
Mr. Chapman wants us to surrender to the inevitability of forest fires and stop spending taxpayer dollars trying to prevent them. Using Mr. Chapman's argument, neither should we spend taxpayer money fighting disease. After all, isn't a disease a "natural" phenomenon? Look at the millions of dollars being spent on the destruction of mosquitoes in an effort to control the West Nile virus. Why not simply let the disease run its course, thinning the population of weak elderly people and the very young who are its most likely victims, much like a wildfire would clear an area with too much undergrowth?
However, as is the case with diseases, we have the means to prevent or at least reduce the risk of forest fires. This reality makes it difficult to understand why Mr. Chapman opposes making the effort. Could it be that he is a card-carrying member of the extremist Sierra Club, whose bizarre notions include condemning man's interference with "nature" under the banner of preserving the environment?

North Olmsted, Ohio

Catholic bishops need proper counseling

Howard Fishman's reply to our Aug. 21 Op-Ed column "Strange Bedfellows," which was about the Roman Catholic bishops taking advice from people who had covered up criminal sex abuse of children, was full of name-calling and irrelevant, inaccurate arguments ("Column is 'sexual McCarthyism at its worst,'" Letters, Monday). Yet, nowhere did he deny the essential facts we presented: that Dr. Paul McHugh and Dr. Fred Berlin had knowingly concealed multiple incidents of child rape and assault from authorities, despite a Maryland law requiring them to report the crimes.
Mr. Fishman (and the bishops) should consult the March 4, 1990, edition of the Baltimore Sun, which reported Dr. Berlin's actions as head of Johns Hopkins' Sexual Disorders Clinic ("Doctor skirts reporting law on sex crimes"). According to this article, "Dr. Berlin acknowledged in two interviews last week that he understood the legislature's intent but had deliberately skirted the reporting requirements." The article said he had "vehemently opposed" the new law before the General Assembly.
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. retorted that "the language of the law could not be clearer" and that Dr. Berlin, a mental health provider, was not exempt from it. Maryland state Sen. Thomas M. Yeager, a member of the Governor's Council on Child Abuse and Neglect, declared, "The attorney general should come down on him. He's in violation of the law it's that simple."
"Dr. Berlin's boss, Dr. Paul R. McHugh," the article continued, said the hospital "did agree with the Sexual Disorders Clinic's interpretation" of the law. "We did what we thought was appropriate," Dr. McHugh stated. Dr. Berlin acted with "the blessing of his superiors," the article said.
Mr. Fishman objects to our reporting the close tie between former McHugh subordinate Berlin and the Sexual Disorders Clinic founder, Dr. John Money. But the tie is revealing. Dr. Money told Paidika: The Journal of Paedophilia in spring 1991, that "the vast majority of paedophiles who are put in jail have no business being in jail" and "I would never report anybody" who molested a child. Yet Dr. Berlin co-founded the clinic with Dr. Money and "considers him one of his most important mentors" (see John Colapinto's book "As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl"). Both Dr. Money and Dr. Berlin claim psychiatry can control child molesters.
The U.S. Catholic bishops' Web site (www.usccb.org) carries a 1997 interview with Dr. Berlin in which he says priests who have committed sex crimes against children should sometimes be allowed to continue as priests and should sometimes be sent back to parishes. It is high time the bishops stopped relying on Dr. Berlin and Dr. McHugh for advice on pedophilia.
By the way, an Internet search reveals that Mr. Fishman has lectured on "child abuse hysteria" and offers himself as an "expert witness" for those "wrongly accused or convicted, especially of child abuse."

Institute for Media Education
Sacramento, Calif.

Former chairman (1986-1992)
Archdiocese of Los Angeles Commission on Obscenity and Pornography
Santa Barbara, Calif.

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