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Over 60 . . . And Getting Younger: June 21, 2013

Secrets

Somewhere along the Baltimore Washington Parkway, there is a place called Fort Meade, Maryland.  I was stationed at Fort Meade in 1960, after my one year tour in Korea.  Fort Meade was close to the Bronx (but not too close).  It was known as a tank training base, but I was a dentist in the Army so it did not affect me.

On the grounds of Fort Meade was a section that was well guarded and the lights shined all through the night.  No one knew what was going on there.  Very mysterious!

I met Fred, a Navy man and he worked in that secret place.  I once asked him over drinks,”Fred, what are you guys doing over there?”  He placed an open hand behind his ear and said, “what did you say?”  I repeated much louder, “Fred, what are you doing over there, and why are the lights on all night?”  Fred again cupped his hand behind his ear and exclaimed, “what did you say?”  It was obvious, Fred was going to tell me nothing.

Later I found out, it was the NSA headquarters.  NSA stands for National Security Agency.  NSA develops security measures for the United States and our spy system.  President Harry S. Truman created the National Security Agency in 1952 as part of the Department of Defense. I never entered their grounds and Fred wasn’t talking.

Only last week did the NSA make the headlines on CNN, the Fox channel and newspapers.  The NSA was being accused of searching for information secretly in civilian records, phone calls and the Internet.  Various groups on both sides of the political spectrum object to this practice. It appears  the government’s position is that intelligence gathering is to prevent terrorist acts.

I appreciate the need to find terrorists, but the practice of seeking private civilian  went a bit too far.  I hope this matter is resolved soon and the American public can rest easily.