I would like an opportunity to reply to "‘Credible’ versus ‘similar’ tips" (letter, Jan. 4).

As an intelligence community professional, I feel compelled to defend my fellow members. It seems that the writer, like the rest of the public, fueled by half-cocked media reporting of the "now" era, has jumped to conclusions without all of the relevant facts [regarding the attempted Christmas Day bombing of an airliner].

Who is allowed to board a plane to the U.S. without a passport? No one, that’s who. However, I do share the writer’s anger at a broken system and, like him, I want straight answers and not political maneuvering.

For every way a terrorist can attack our country, lawmakers find reasons for us not to profile or to humiliate travelers simply because of their country of origin. So we all go along this seesaw war on terror, balancing privacy and profiling with human dignity and reasonable timeliness for everyday life and millions of daily travelers. I would much rather use body scanners and put chips into everyone who enters the U.S. so we can track them, but then we would lose our conscience and what we all hold most dear, our freedom.

The intelligence community is not entirely to blame. It just sucks for us that we are constantly measured by our failures and not by our successes, which will never be known.

Jerry SwansonBalad, Iraq

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