May 24, 2013

The May 20 front-page article “How the IRS seeded the clouds for a political deluge” buried inside the paper the following sentence: “Many liberal-leaning and nonpolitical groups were also caught up in the effort.”

Oh? The entire thrust of the Internal Revenue Service “scandal” being pushed by Republican and tea party groups is that President Obama had the IRS target them for special mistreatment because of their political leaning. If that were true, one would have expected that tax-exemption applications from left-leaning “social welfare organizations” would have sailed through the IRS at warp speed.

For the past week, I have read many articles online of similar problems encountered by progressive groups seeking 501(c)(4) status. But there has been far less about this in what the GOP and tea party groups like to call the “liberal lamestream media.”

The fact that applications from groups of all political stripes met with similar problems from the IRS belies the Republican narrative. Therefore, it belonged on the front page, not buried inside.

Henry Cohn, Gaithersburg

I agree with almost everything Colbert I. King said in his May 18 op-ed column, “Disturbing reminders of the Stasi,” with the exception of his claim that this matter was discovered within the IRS through self-policing. In fact, there were numerous complaints to Congress about this illegal behavior; several threatened legal actions (some could still be filed); and the American Center for Law and Justice was involved as well. These complaints brought the IRS’s inspector general into the matter.

Dale Everett, Ashburn

For Colbert I. King to compare FBI programs of any kind to those of the Stasi, the East German secret police, is ridiculous, especially to this 90-year-old admirer of the FBI and overt spy who confronted Stasi agents on a daily basis for two years. I have copies of many Stasi secret reports submitted on my operations in East Germany. Not only was the Stasi completely inefficient, but also it was continually unsuccessful. On missions requiring their absence, any of us in the U.S. military liaison mission lost the Stasi tails assigned to us.  

Just to provide one example of the Stasi’s waste of surveillance efforts, at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 9, 1961, it positioned six vehicles with 14 agents to determine my intelligence-collection activities. From 8:17 to 9:30 p.m., Stasi agents made three reports of my vehicle directions from their observation points, but none of the 14 agents was able to learn what I achieved during this assignment.

The Stasi may be an echo of the German Gestapo or the Soviet KGB, but in no way is the FBI also an echo, as Mr. King stated, of the ineffective and wasteful Stasi.

John A. Fahey, Catonsville