Once secret information is leaked, it's no longer a secret

Dante Chinni's May 23 Opinion piece, "National security vs. freedom of the press," has Attorney General Alberto Gonzales indicating that current laws might allow journalists to be prosecuted for publishing classified information.

Mr. Gonzales is wrong. There are no laws on the books to that effect. Once the secret is revealed by those obligated to keep the secret, it is no longer a secret. It enters the public domain and is publishable. Reporters are not made members of the group obligated to keep the secret by having the secret revealed to them.

As the Bush administration said about its own revelation of a secret - a CIA operative's name - once the name was revealed, the operative became "fair game." Gonzales needs to look for legal advice from the leakers in his administration.

The prosecutor in the CIA-leak case is not prosecuting the reporter who published the leak, since he knows - as Gonzales seems not to - that once a secret is let out of the control of the secret keepers, it's no longer a secret, and publishing it is not a crime.
Ed Martin
Fort Worth, Texas

The profitability of exploiting oil sands

In the May 12 article, "Newest hot spot for oil production: Canada," the Canadian oil sands are presented mostly as the way out of our emerging energy crisis in the US. And this is the perspective most often heard.

But unlike most articles, this one contains at least brief mention of the fly in the ointment - the price of natural gas. Natural gas provides the energy needed to process the oil sands, and its purchase makes up the biggest cost of exploiting the sands. The gas currently used is still cheap because there is no easy way, as yet, to transport the gas out of the area to where it can fetch a much better price on the world market.

I would have liked to have read more details about the projected cost of oil made from oil sands when it happens that the natural gas in the area can be sold at world market prices. For example, since natural gas generally tracks the price of crude oil, would this mean that the oil sands are only temporarily profitable to exploit? I hope a future article will answer such a question.
Charles Palson
Sherborn, Mass.

Fond memories of a paper route

What wonderful memories I had reading the May 22 article, "Return of the paperboy." I was a papergirl when I was 12 and 13 years old. I can still remember that I had 54 customers in our small Iowa town of about 200 people, and I've recently drawn a map of the houses and who lived in them.

I walked my route after school, and loved every minute of it. I walk my route, still, when I can't get to sleep - starting with Lena's place, then down to the corner where the Smiths used to live, and across the street to Grace's. My aunt and uncle's house was the last house on my route, and I would often stop there for a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of lemonade before I walked home to help Mom with supper. It was a perfect afterschool activity.
Joland Mohr
Cottonwood, Minn.

Letter writing used to be an art

Regarding the May 15 article, "It's all about me: Why e-mails are so easily misunderstood": Another way to view this problem is for one to read real letters written by good writers during the so-called flowery age of writing. I am always amazed at the high quality of written expression in letters from this era, and the writers' intents seem quite clear.
Bob Damico

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