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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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March 12, 2004

Thoughts on Susan Lindauer

Susan Lindauer, now accused of working for the government of Saddam Hussein, was a co-worker of mine. We worked in the same department of the same newspaper for a few months in 1987. I am ashamed to say I canít remember her or offer an iota of insight about her.

The first press reports say she was arrested for being a spy. The story says she met several times with officials at the Iraqi delegation to the UN, and that she carried a letter for the Iraqis to the home of Andrew Card, the presidentís chief of staff. He is a distant a relative of hers.

That is not spying. It is running an errand. Delivering a letter ought not be behavior that is hunted down and punished. Nor should it be punishable that Lindauer did something that benefited the Iraqi government in some general way. Everyone who publicly opposed the war, myself included, could be accused of giving aid and comfort to the Iraqi government.

The report also says the Iraqis paid her $10,000. Thatís different. That crosses a line, because payment would make her an employee of a foreign government. It would also be crossing a line to give a foreign government any information that might be used against the United States. But lobbying oneís own government is within the rights of a citizen.

I donít know what Susan Lindauer did or didnít do. Let that be determined at trial. Letís also be careful at what behavior we punish, and that we call things by the right names.

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Posted by Bruce Ramsey at March 12, 2004 04:13 PM



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