Letters: Sept. 11 Anniversary, Spying at Work

Listeners comment on coverage of the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, spying at work, writing fiction and other topics.

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NEAL CONAN, host:

It's Tuesday, the day we read from your e-mails. The news last week that the chairwoman of Hewlett-Packard was in trouble for spying on board members prompted our discussion about other high-tech ways companies snoop on their employees. When a caller asked if his online banking password could be exposed at work, one of our guests said she doubted it.

Jonathon Pecall(ph) in Albion, California e-mailed us to warn that may not be true.

Software can be installed to log every keystroke someone makes on their computer, he said, even when not connected to a network. Laptops or any computer can store the keystrokes and then relay them once connected to a network. Anything you have ever heard of in terms of snooping is possible. It simply depends on how far the employer or the IT person wants to go. The bottom line is assume that everything you do on a PC at work is known to all.

We remembered the fifth anniversary of 9/11 last week with a look at the lives of military men and women in the years since the attacks. It's a topic listener Marla Chicherri(ph) in San Antonio, Texas knows firsthand.

My brother was a young soldier when the attacks on 9/11 took place, she wrote. Since then, he has served three tours in Iraq. His last tour ends this week, and my family got news that he left Baghdad yesterday on his way home. I hope that we as a country are not in a position to return soldiers to Iraq for four tours of duty.

Valerie Cantazero's(ph) husband serves in the U.S. Army, and she e-mailed to tell us:

My husband has gone to Afghanistan three times. One of my daughter's first words was Afghanistan. We just recently found out that my husband will be going back again for a one-year tour. When we told our 10-year-old son, his response was that's okay. That's his job. To some that may not be normal, but it is our life. We're proud of all the men and women that serve our country. I'm proud of all of the families left behind.

CONAN: Last Thursday, we brought in writer Francine Prose and asked her to share her secrets to writing good fiction. Mike in Iowa City e-mailed to tell us that she was right to say that prospective writers need to read great writers. But, he wrote, I would insist they must read bad writers as well. If I read Crime and Punishment, I would only think I'll never be able to do that. But if I read something like Galaxy 666, I think if this can get printed, I have a chance.

On The Opinion Page yesterday, we spoke with former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo about his op-ed on presidential powers and aggressive anti- terrorism measures. It turns out I neglected to mention his forthcoming book, War by Other Means: An Insider's Account of the War on Terror. It's due to be published next month.

And if we can end with a little plug of our own, our weekly Opinion Page segment is now available as a podcast, so if you missed yesterday's segment on the air - or any of the Opinion Pages from now on - just go to our Web site, npr.org/talk, and you can download the segment and take it with you on an MP3 player. Of course, we're interactive in the mail department as well. If you have comments, questions or corrections for us, please write us by e-mail. The address: talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

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