To the Editor:
Re: “Scheuer Upholds Assassination Call” (The Hoya, A1, Jan. 14, 2014)
One sympathizes with Dr. Michael Scheuer’s difficulties in dealing with reality. A life of service in one of our “intelligence” agencies is enough to render even the strongest of spirits — if I may use a term permitted by our intercultural university discourse — just a bit meshugenna. Perhaps the university, true to its pedagogic mission, could suggest to Scheuer that he return as a student in a course on 17th-centuryBritish history. His comparison of Cameron and Obama to Charles II is, on both first and second sight, absurd.
I add that my own experience of “intelligence” has been that, so to speak, of a consumer. The CIA opened a letter I wrote to a colleague in what was then the Soviet Union, and I sued, successfully, for violation of my Fourth Amendment rights. Just on the other side of the old Iron Curtain, the Ministry for State Security of the German Democratic Republic (as the late, unlamented German Communist state was called) took exception to my visits to dissidents and barred me from crossing the border. I could not sue but lived to see the Ministry (and the state) collapse — as my dissident friends were finally listened to by their fellow citizens. Interestingly, they never called for assassinations — just heightened public conscience.
Norman Birnbaum
University Professor Emeritus,
Georgetown University Law Center

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