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Welcome to Hooverville. (Letters).

Charles Peters said in his November 2001 column ("Tilting at Windmills") that the FBI does not emphasize the prevention of crime but only the apprehension of perpetrators after the fact.

He is right, but even in the wake of September 11 we should all be thankful that this is so. Remember the past. Under J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI tried just such a proactive approach. The result was spying on and harassing citizens, including civil rights giants such as Martin Luther King and journalists including Fred Cook and Jack Anderson. While federal agencies such as the FBI deserve some blame for the attacks, they don't deserve all of it. Let's face it: The events of September 11 represent an incredible failure for state and local law enforcement agencies. Perhaps if they had paid some attention to the sinister activities of foreigners--and there were, in retrospect, plenty--instead of hassling innocent Americans for "driving while black" and the like, the outcome on that day might have been different.

EDWIN KRAMPITZ, JR. Drewryville, Va.
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Author:Krampitz, Edwin, Jr.
Publication:Washington Monthly
Date:Jan 1, 2002
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