Regarding recent reports of the massive government surveillance program carried out by the National Security Agency ("Surveillance state," June 7), as a college student in 1970 I worked at night for Maryland National Bank's downtown Mastercard headquarters as a telephone authorizer of charge card sales.
A friend of mine who was a student as well and who worked nights for C & P Telephone Company told me then to be careful what I said on the phone, because the company was routinely tapping calls in the Johns Hopkins University area.
The rationale behind this still secret surveillance program was that the Nixon administration suspected students and others were planning a violent takeover of the government. The White House was seriously considering not having an election in 1972, but instead ruling under martial law. The phone company had been secretly suborned into allowing the illegal surveillance as part of this plan. My friend was, in fact, listening in to his other friends' calls.
Do I believe the same government now, even in the midst of the current IRS scandals? I do not. Instead, I'd remind readers of the prediction former Louisiana Sen. Huey Long was alleged to have made before his assassination in 1935: "Fascism will come to the United States in the guise of national security."
Blaine Taylor, Towson