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Dear Mr.

Moran, I am a resident of Virginias 8th District, and I am writing you today about the recent revelations concerning our governments security and surveillance apparatus. I have come to appreciate that the mechanisms by which the U.S. government collects information, domestically and internationally, is a very complicated affair. Similarly, I understand that the legal justification for the collection and use of the same information is very complicated. It is for this reason that I am writing not about the legality of the recent revelations concerning the NSA and other entities, but rather the immorality of these practices and the damage these practices are sure to wreck on the U.S. government, us, the people of the United States, and indeed, free people all over the world. While the issues involved are complicated, some things remain simple. The statements below are, for me, clear and obvious, and they guide my thinking on this subject. 1) It is beneath the dignity of a free people to be monitored in their communications. Rather than actually undertaking the comprehensive collection of the communications of free persons, the U.S. government should be bringing its considerable resources to bear to ensure that there is no entity monitoring the communications of free peoples. 2) People communicate differently when they believe they are under surveillance, whether they actually are under surveillance or not. That is to say that, by and large, people are more cautious, more fearful, and less truthful. They will hide or encode what they would actually like to say, for fear of persecution or other repercussions in either the near- or long- term. Surveillance, or even the belief that surveillance is taking place, is the end of a very large part of freedom, although it is not the most immediately visible part. 3) Although not impossible, it is very difficult to imagine that a data set of the sort described by recent revelations might exist without being used in some extra-legal manner by those persons or entities with access to the data. If a situation should arise where the use of the data would constitute a benefit or advantage to some party, justifications would be invented by that party to access the data. Both history and broad consensus on human nature bear out this truth. 4) Edward Snowden has, over the past several weeks, made public a number of classified documents outlining our governments activities in data and communications collection. This ipso facto makes it clear that the collected data, in whole or part, could be made public at some point in the future. While the dissemination of such a large data set seems impossible or, at the very least, impractical at the moment, it will not always be so. The only way to ensure that our private communications data is not made public is, ultimately, to not collect the data in the first place. 5) Society is currently wrestling with the boundary line between the public and the private, in large part due to the technological changes of the past twenty years, changes that are still accelerating. Earnest, intimate, thoughtful communication will only survive if we can define the

sphere of privacy relating to a speaker/writer and the listener/reader. The current situation might be an opportunity to begin to draw the line of that sphere. I can earnestly say, with great sadness, that I currently feel a profound alienation from my government. At the same time, I realize that in a democracy like ours there is no clear line between the governor and the governed. In a very significant way, I am responsible for all our government does. If the U.S. government continues these practices to which I have been referring, it will be the moral and political failing of the people of the United States. I personally assume that responsibility by writing to you today, along with other elected representatives. I hope that you have already found ways to work to end the surveillance of free people, and if you have not yet, I expect that you will do so. It is important, for me, to not rest until these issues are resolved in a near-universally satisfactory and moral way, in tune with what I understand to be the most admirable aspects of the American ethos. Once these issues are understood, they will not be controversial. Our essential character, as a free people, ensures this. Best wishes in your important work, and I thank you for your service. Sincerely, William R. Sedutto