Top of the week:

This Thursday's speaker will be David Murray.   The topic: Drones.  On the heels of last Thursday's program about Snowden and the NSA, we're sweeping the horizon for thought-provoking topics.   A reminder that the following week's meeting (September 25) will be the first of our three scheduled political forums to give Rotarians a chance to learn from the Congressional candidates (and in later meetings, the candidates for Governor and Senate).


Please note that we have not redesigned our front page, changed our typeface nor sought feedback about our eBulletin's new look....yet!  But we're working on it :)    If you're interested in Club Communication, there's a meeting on Friday -- email PP Dave for further info.    In the meantime, our team of reporters and photojournalists is hard at work to capture the essence of each week's meeting for those who are not able to be there.   


Rotary Club Meeting of September 11th, 2014 

Reported by: Past President Aileen Dugan

Photos by: Sara Treacy, slide show here:


We gathered for a delicious Greek-themed lunch provided by Portsmouth Country Club. The solemn anniversary of 13 years ago was recognized as the meeting began. President Trish asked us to observe a few moments of silence in honor of the lives that were lost on 9/11. 


The program started early as it was a jam-packed meeting.  After welcoming guests and visiting Rotarians, President Tricia shared big news. The Board of Directors voted unanimously to authorize up to $30,000 for Rotary’s hands-on Strawbery Banke Ice Rink project.


The vote came at a special meeting held the day before. It was decided to recommend taking up $20,000 from the Ray Jones Fund, one of our charitable funds. The other $10,000 has come from allocated funds left over from Past President Dave’s charitable budget. Past President Ted Alex and the Hands-On Committee will coordinate the project, which is scheduled to start soon.


The new ice skating rink at Strawbery Banke will be a very large, visible project for our club. President Tricia has previously circulated an email detailing it. The key funding from the Ray Jones Fund requires a vote of the Club. Therefore, notice has been given with the vote to occur probably in two weeks, at the September 25th meeting.  That is also the date of our first political forum. Please see Past President Ted for detailed questions on the project. 


Bob Field introduced our speaker, Alynna J. Lyon. Professor Lyon hails from New Mexico. She is currently an Associate Professor of Political Science at UNH, where she has served since 2003.  Her topic, "Edward Snowden: Traitor or Hero?" was very interesting. It addressed some of the inherent tensions between national security and personal freedom as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. 


Professor Lyon explained that 9/11 was the genesis of the expansion of our Intermestic policy. It’s a policy that includes widespread data collection of US citizens by the National Security Administration or NSA.  Both Bush and Obama Administrations repeatedly asserted that data being collected was "metadata." This is, data used to essentially monitor the pulse of information and rout out terrorists. But in fact the organizations went way beyond those uses. They expanded the executive powers available to them during wartime and afforded through the Patriot Act. That expansion allowed them to conduct surveillance on US Citizens, our Allies, and members of Congress. Even members of the Senate Intelligence Committee were watched.


All this was done with no warrant and no court involved.  The New York Times nearly broke the story in 2004 but was warned that it would cause the next 9/11 if they did. Snowden, then only 29, contacted two journalists, one in the US, the other in London. His goal was to expose what he believed to be a huge breach of personal privacy and freedom going on at NSA.


Snowden had worked at the CIA before moving to NSA. While there, he became dismayed at the level of surveillance the agency was conducting. Snowden was able to monitor phone conversations, emails and almost every other form of communication.  Bent on exposing the government, he left and built his case while working for a private military contractor.


Snowden is now in Russia, where Vladimir Putin granted him asylum. But Putin but also forced Snowden to stop leaking further national secrets.  There is no doubt that Snowden’s revelations have damaged our relationships with our allies. His actions are particularly damaging from the standpoint of national defense, particularly in our war against terrorism. Groups like ISIS and the Islamic terrorists are now aware of how we gather intelligence, enabling them to sidestep our efforts.


Still, among many young Americans, Snowden is viewed as a patriot. But the older an age group surveyed, the more likely they are to look less favorably on his actions. Older Americans feel Snowden may have endangered the lives of all US citizens. On the whole, 44% of Americans feel Snowden did the right thing. 


Bob Smith was the lucky raffle winner this week. 


Respectfully submitted, Aileen Dugan


Editor's note: an email went out last week directing you to information about the Ray P. Jones fund and the bylaws, which can be accessed by members after logging in to the website.   If you cannot log in, send an email to and we'll re-set your credentials for you.


Rotary is a place where old friends and new learn about each other through fellowship and service.   Bring a friend and share the joy that is Rotary!  We hope to see you on Thursday.