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A Case of Civil Disobedience
Friday, October 31, 2003 - The Washington Post - Page A24
Regarding the Oct. 21 article on Nathaniel T. Heatwole, the college student who
demonstrated the flaws in airline security:
Although we acknowledge that a criminal act was committed, this courageous young
man was engaging in civil disobedience, which has a long and well-respected history in our
country. He allegedly broke the law to bring attention to problems not being addressed. His
action highlighted the fact that authorities have failed to fix the long-standing problem of
airline security, and he did not cause harm to anyone.
On behalf of ourselves and eight other family members of the victims of 9/11, we
are deeply troubled that no one has been held accountable for the security breaches that led to
hijackings of four commercial airliners, yet this concerned citizen who had the safety of his
country as his goal is being threatened with incarceration.
We hope that the court recognizes that this individual provided detailed
warnings to authorities and that the Transportation Security Administration, the FBI and other
security and intelligence agencies will hold their employees publicly responsible in the same
way that this individual is being held publicly accountable.
We also want to express our outrage that two years later, the murder of 3,000
innocents has yet to result in long-overdue improvements in airline security.
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