Attorney and former CIA officer Matthew Ferraro contends that U.S. intelligence agencies operate within "strict legal controls under the review of lawyers embedded at all levels, inspectors general, courts and Congress" ("The Snowden stigma," June 9).

This claim flies in the face of what has long been evident: The rules on intelligence gathering, if and when they existed, were often skirted with the accomplice of those selfsame embedded lawyers. The roles of inspectors general and courts were often arbitrary and inconsistent if they were involved in the decision-making process at all, and Congress was by its own admission mostly kept in the dark.

Jim Russell, Ellicott City

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