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US Director of National Intelligence Admits He Was Wrong About Data Collection 296

Posted by Soulskill
from the promoted-to-director-of-the-obvious dept.
Gunkerty Jeb writes "In a highly unusual move, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said Tuesday that he misspoke when he told a Congressional committee in March that the National Security Agency does not collect data on millions of Americans. Clapper said at the time that the agency does not do so 'wittingly,' but in a letter to the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper admitted this statement was 'erroneous.' Clapper, the top U.S. intelligence official, has been quite vocal in his defense of the NSA's now-public surveillance programs such as PRISM and the metadata collection program. In statements published shortly after the leak of classified documents by Edward Snowden about those collection efforts Clapper said that they both have been repeatedly authorized by Congress and the executive and judicial branches over the years."
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US Director of National Intelligence Admits He Was Wrong About Data Collection

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  • has been handpicked!! Wonder what he's getting under the table for his "selfless sacrifice"?
    • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @05:37AM (#44174317)

      has been handpicked!!

      Wonder what he's getting under the table for his "selfless sacrifice"?

      The NSA will be removing the surveillance devices in his bedroom and the toiletbowl camera in his bathroom.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        He will get promoted to a good position inside of the Ministry of Truth.

        • Re:The fall guy (Score:4, Insightful)

          by cayenne8 (626475) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @08:35AM (#44175625) Homepage Journal

          He will get promoted to a good position inside of the Ministry of Truth.

          However, pertaining to his immediate future...isn't he bound to current laws dealing with lying under oath to Congress?

          Should he not be getting a "Go To Jail" card, and bypass Go"?

          • by tnk1 (899206)

            Even in cases where someone lies in court, you are generally allowed to restate answers, without immediately being hit with perjury charges. The understanding is that it is better to get the truth eventually than it is to immediately drop the hammer on a liar.

            If you immediately prosecuted people for perjury when they changed their statements, many would simply bunker down, continue to lie, and perhaps make things even harder to get to the bottom of in the process of covering their own ass. Bear in mind, t

          • "The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought"

            -- George Orwell, 1984

    • Re:The fall guy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreakNO@SPAMeircom.net> on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @05:41AM (#44174333) Homepage Journal

      Wonder what he's getting under the table for his "selfless sacrifice"?

      Well, he's had his passport revoked, is being hunted around the world, and is being vilified in almost all public media.

      Oh, wait....

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by CunningPike (112982)

        Not forgotting (seeminly multiple) countries closing their airspace [bbc.co.uk] on the chance that you might be on board.

        • Re:The fall guy (Score:4, Insightful)

          by bfandreas (603438) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:47AM (#44174623)
          ...and in the end only China and Russia will emerge from this dungheap smelling of roses.
          Can't we simply say that the Western Ideals have been abandoned so we can safely watch "$COUNTRY Got Talent", wave our flags and pretend we are still worthy to be proud of? Surely?
  • by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2@NOspam.gdargaud.net> on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @05:35AM (#44174307) Homepage
    And WTF does 'wittingly' means ? That you are trying to drown a fish ?
    • by geekmux (1040042) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @05:51AM (#44174375)

      And WTF does 'wittingly' means ? That you are trying to drown a fish ?

      I don't care if he said he "smurfed" US Citizens. The real concern we should be having here is a complete lack of consequence.

      Worst-case scenario? He'll be asked to step down and retire comfortably. Of course, this is after he's offered millions for a tell-all book and movie deal. Watch and see.

      The rich and powerful go unpunished. THAT is the real concern. Lies mean nothing without real consequence.

      • by dmbasso (1052166) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:02AM (#44174429)

        The rich and powerful go unpunished. THAT is the real concern.

        In this case, punishment shouldn't even be the main concern. The focus should be in stopping the clearly unconstitutional activities. But the US population opinion is "fuck the constitution, protect us from those evil terrorists" [because that's the objective of the PRISM program, right? sure...].

        Land of the free, home of the brave. LOL.

        • by aralin (107264) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:11AM (#44174473)

          No, in this case, punishment absolutely has to be a concern. The next time another pompous asshole considers to perjure himself in front of Congress, I want him to remember this guy serving 5-10 years and then reconsider the real consequences of his actions. And we might not have those secret programs in the first place.

          • by rioki (1328185)

            ...ignoring the fact that the programs where OKed by congress...

            • ...ignoring the fact that the programs where OKed by congress...

              ...Ignoring the fact that Congress IGNORED the Constitution??? The 4th Amendment flatly prohibits
              this kind of activity. Try READING it sometime, its a good read... Here, I'll even help you.. I realize
              the schools today don't bother teaching the Constitution, as its sooooo inconvient to their aims, that
              being indocrination camps for good little obiedient consumers...

              The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be viol

          • No, in this case, punishment absolutely has to be a concern. The next time another pompous asshole considers to perjure himself in front of Congress, I want him to remember this guy serving 5-10 years and then reconsider the real consequences of his actions.

            But it ain't gonna happen. You know it, I know it, the world knows it. Congress holding liars accountable? Ha!

            When you look at our history over the last fifteen years, we've learned that it's OK for the government to lie almost anything...data collect

          • by cdrudge (68377)

            No, it will just result in the pompous assholes pleading the 5th and then continuing whatever they were doing, moving to the private but still related sector, and/or retiring comfortably.

          • I may be slightly OT, but is there any VALUE to a hearing by Congress? I can see the premise that they need to educate themselves about the facts before writing or voting on a bill, but it seems more and more that they've really only been used for political posturing (at best) or witch hunts at worst. I can understand a hearing for facts in advance of pending legislation, but these "fact findings" expeditions after major events tend to do nothing but stir up the base.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          During the late 1980's, 800 bank officials went to jail for the Savings and Loans failures. In the last bank collapse, no one went to trial. http://www.frumforum.com/three-years-on-still-no-major-arrests-from-crisis/

          Land of the fee and home of the slave.

        • Land of the free, home of the brave. LOL.

          Land of all greed, and home of deranged

      • by markdavis (642305) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:41AM (#44174595)

        What he should do is be thrown in jail for outright lying to Congress. The end.

        "Misspoke", my ass.

        • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @07:14AM (#44174819) Homepage

          True. Martha Steward went to jail for mis-speaking. yet this joker blatantly lies and doesn't get a all expenses paid trip to Gitmo for the Waterboarding experience? This is the reality as to "justice" in the united states.

          If you are inside the old boys club, you do not get in trouble. If you are outside it, they will punish you.

          • by dkleinsc (563838)

            That's not exactly a new phenomenon though: It's been more-or-less standard practice ever since Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon.

        • by spacepimp (664856)
          Perjury is the term, and it is punishable only up to five years in jail. Sadly Aaron Swartz was facing a lifetime for copying text with intent to distribute from a publicly available publication. Surely the illegal gathering of information on hundreds of millions of citizens (not American people) as they refer to them (citizens have rights) has a similarly punishable crime associated with it. Which will likely not apply/be applied.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by tnk1 (899206)

            There is no punishable crime for this as the program was entirely legal. You don't get thrown in jail for doing things that are legal unless you are invaded by another country or there's a revolution.

            Even if some court retroactively declared it illegal, people who were executing under the law can easily argue that they were executing the program in good faith that it was legal, as a law had been passed and there was no injunction.

            This needs to be less about punishing people for unfortunately legal things,

            • by spacepimp (664856)
              Perjury under oath to the Senator who heads the very over site committee designed make certain the actions of your secret intelligence organization about how and which activities are being performed is not legal. Perjury is not legal. Which part of this do you not understand? The fact they are lying about their actions which are sanctioned only because of this over site, means they are deliberately obfuscating what they are doing so said over site is misinformed means the NSA is operating illegaly and with
        • by TheP4st (1164315)

          "Misspoke", my ass.

          Indeed as he had full knowledge of the question beforehand and in the absurdly unlikely even that he had no prior knowledge about the data collection until that time he would certainly know for certain what the truth was at the time of the actual hearing. Excerpt of TFA for slashdotters that could not be bothered reading it:

          When Clapper was asked by Sen. Ron Wyden in March if the NSA collects "any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans," Clapper answered, "No sir," before adding, "Not wittingly."

          After the revelations emerged about the NSA's activities, Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence panel, posted an explanation of that exchange, in which he said he sent the question to Clapper's office one day in advance, and also gave Clapper a chance to amend his answer after the public hearing had ended.

      • by TWiTfan (2887093)

        Meanwhile, the kid who outed this lying piece of shit is being hunted down like a dog--all while the U.S. press continues to cheerlead for the government.

    • by hsmith (818216) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:58AM (#44174721)
      Just imagine if he had lied to congress about something serious - like steroids in baseball. Then he'd definitely be looking at jail time!
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      it means saying with a straight face that there's a 51% the target isn't american or on american soil.
      nevermind if the actual intelligence gathering is happening on american soil anyways..

      that was the wittingly part anyways. so is he now retracting that they're collecting data if they think there might be a good reason for it? because that's what they were doing - american or not.

    • by mmcxii (1707574)
      I wonder how loudly the judge would have laughed if someone like Robert Morris Jr. would have used this as a defense.

      "Sorry, your honor, I didn't wittingly bring down the internets."

      It would have certainly been much more honest.... Just another case of the powers-that-be defending their own asshattery.
    • by bfandreas (603438)

      And WTF does 'wittingly' means ? That you are trying to drown a fish ?

      It means he didn't know. Which warrants a public hearing since he was there to know and is part of the often cited "checks&balances".

      Did he knowingly lie? The answer to that question is not even remotely interesting considering that either answer will lead to the question of who watches the watchmen. And that answer will be found in a secret court.
      I will lose a lot of respect for the US public(and press) if that happens.

    • It means the NSA is not malicious, merely incompetent.

      I feel so much better.

    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      I wonder if the IRS will start to accept "I misspoke. I unwittingly made an error." on audits in the future.

    • by dywolf (2673597)

      IMO it should be a requirement to be a "Man" if you're going to hold these sorts of positions, be a politician, etc. (capital M, gender neutral, expressing a concept of character, not gender)

      A "Man" stands up and admits the truth, has integrity and character, and takes his licks. A man does not lie about lying...none of this "i accidentally misspoke" crap when referring to a blatant lie. No matter how much you may disagree with him, a Man is easy to work and deal with.

      But a slimeball will lie about lying, w

      • by spacepimp (664856)
        I believe those honest men are the whistle blowers that are largely maligned, raided and intruded by sheepish Americans, the media and their respective institutions in which they worked. Men stand up and refute orders that are unconstitutional.
  • wrong? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @05:39AM (#44174325)

    No.... thats not right. the word required here is FUCKING LIAR!

    He either lied like a piece of shit TRAITOR TO AMERICA. Or he's totally clueless.

    Either way this is not good.
    Lube up the guillotine. It's services are required once again.

    Are we not tired of paying fucktons of money for illegal actions by the people who are supposed to be on our side? These guys are worse than terrorists. Terrorists just kill people. These guys ruin lives, familys, and make you pay for it.

    Off with his head. We'll put a stop to this shit.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No, you won't. You have no power. They have the power. They are laughing at all of you impotent citizens. Go ahead, vote away, it won't change anything. Don't even think about rebellion - that's not an option any more. It used to be, long, long ago; but those in power have solved that problem.

      They are watching you (and me too, of course), listening to you, noting with whom you communicate. They can shut you up whenever they like, up to and including disappearing you, your family and everyone you've ever kno

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        You dont understand how many AR-15's and AR-10's have been sold to citizens in the past 6 months. Even bleeding heart liberals have been buying them.

        Enough to scare most politicians. I'm scared about the number of untrained and no experience fools that have high power match grade rifles. IT takes brains to safely use these.

    • by asylumx (881307)

      Terrorists just kill people. These guys ruin lives, familys, and make you pay for it.

      You don't think killing people ruins lives and families?

  • Now tell him to stop doing things which make the American people angry.

    • by Fuzzums (250400)

      The number of people that is pissed upon by 'murica is FAR greater than that tiny fraction of the world population that's called the 'murican people.

  • by bfandreas (603438) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @05:55AM (#44174393)
    Whatever.
    The story isn't that the GCHQ/NSA spied on everybody and shared data to circumvent checks and balances. At least it isn't anymore.
    Now the story has become what the Western World truly is. And I find the sight horrifying.
    It is a safe assumption that ALL secret service type of organisations have directly or indirectly profited from this jolly old mess. The mass snooping on private citizens barely got a reaction from head politicos of all parties involved. But once the story broke that official buildings may have been bugged everybody scrambled to voice their indignation.
    Meanwhile the guy who unearthed what we all suspected but never had proof for is handled like a hot potato. Hong Kong let him go because extradition papers were not only late but also weren't filled out properly. The US officials couldn't be arsed to put passport number or his full and korrekt name in the form. If you were that sloppy with your tax forms you would be potentially facing a prison sentence.
    Russia offers political asylum and smugly adds that it is conditional on him not further embarassing "our US partners".
    France, Spain and Portugal refused the president of Bolivia to pass their air space because he might have Snowden on board. Yet everybody complains about what he had published. Meanwhile every western country declines to offer asylum based on technicalities. Yet when they buy stolen bank records for hefty sums they also grant the whistleblowers immunity and possibly a new identity. The sheer two-facedness is ghastly.


    Reading today's news reads like a declaration of bankruptcy of the western ideals and we will all have to do our homework in the aftermath of this mess. When this is all over the only ones without egg on their face will be Russia and China of all places!
    And we, the people, discuss Snowden's girlfriend's tits and now about who lied when about what instead of taking responsibility of our elected dear leaders.
    • by Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:57AM (#44174713)
      Sadly, this is more insightful than it is comfortable to admit to the average "westerner". But I think history will show us that ideals are just this - ideals, not reality. Reality is hard (albeit virtual) cash, useful connections and art of sociopathy. We may not like it, but it is time to accept that Declarations of Independence or of Human Rights are simply well-worded texts without some real power behind them.

      And that power is gone now - Nelson Mandela is just some cool old guy, Martin Luther King Sr. is some dead copyright pusher and Che Guevara is nothing more than a terrorist, righteously executed for his crimes. There is no driving force behind ideals and ideas, and no leader charismatic enough to create such force. So we'll have to accept this new reality and be thankful that someone in the government still admits something. Soon even that wouldn't be necessary.
      • by bfandreas (603438)
        Nobody ever lived up to his ideals ever. Not if those ideals were worth it to begin with.
        We stopped trying to achieve our ideals and that's sad.

        Now I know that it always was only a select few who tried to achieve anything but in the past they always dragged us sorry lot along with them. That doesn't seem to happen anymore.

        I haven't followed the news on that but I'd bet there is an ongoing investigation what service could have stopped two public schoolboys who out of a vague sense of being let down by t
        • by Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @07:56AM (#44175163)
          You are absolutely correct, but one question remains - what can we do? What can we hope for, if there are no real "selected few" - some are trying to become ones but then they are casted down faster than last-year one-hit bands. Take Snowden - in popular opinion he is just "drama queen", "whiny idiot" or even outright "traitor".

          Here, in Russia, there are examples of that too - many of the so-called "opposition leaders" are just crazy ass-clowns, and others are too idealistic to be accepted as true leaders. One of the most scary things in modern Russia is that Putin is really the most popular politician in this country, and this status quo is not going to change anytime soon.

          So the question remains - what can we, the people, do? What real power do we have today? My own answer for today is "just wait until this broken system destroys itself from inside", but it still may well outlive me. Not a shiny perspective, I must say.
          • by bfandreas (603438)

            You are absolutely correct, but one question remains - what can we do? ... So the question remains - what can we, the people, do? What real power do we have today? My own answer for today is "just wait until this broken system destroys itself from inside", but it still may well outlive me. Not a shiny perspective, I must say.

            Truth being told...I haven't got a clue. But in contrast to you I live in a country where at least the minister of justice is know to feel similarily to me. If history does indeed repeat itsself then waiting for this to implode so we can start over might be the course of action. But hopefully not in my lifetime since this usually is a bloody mess and a couple of decades later on nobody even remembers what it was all about.

    • Western ideals are no more bankrupt than they were a year ago or a century ago; they are ideals, not actual laws. "The Western world" is a balance between lots of competing interests, ideals, and laws, and it has always been. Grandiose generalizations like yours do nothing to help.

      First things first: Clapper lied to Congress, blatantly, deliberately, and clearly. He should lose his job and serve jail time, preferably more than a year. That's what the rule of law means. We should not accept lawlessness and l

      • Western ideals are no more bankrupt than they were a year ago or a century ago; they are ideals, not actual laws. "The Western world" is a balance between lots of competing interests, ideals, and laws, and it has always been. Grandiose generalizations like yours do nothing to help.

        First things first: Clapper lied to Congress, blatantly, deliberately, and clearly. He should lose his job and serve jail time, preferably more than a year. That's what the rule of law means. We should not accept lawlessness and lies like this. (Of course, Obama lied even more blatantly, but unfortunately, people weren't smart enough to kick him out on his ass in the 2012 elections.)

        Then we can think about what we need to do about the NSA and rein in its powers. That requires some discussion, because people don't even agree on what the problem is. For example, I don't have a problem with the NSA spying on Europeans or foreign diplomats, I think that's their function, but others may disagree. I do have a problem with the NSA spying on US citizens in the US, and I hope we can agree on the fact that that is a problem. We need better oversight, better reporting, and more freedom of information rules for the NSA.

        I agree with you, but jailing him is not the highest priority. Also I'm confident we are quite able to discuss the role and the goals of the NSA's actions while the courts deal with this poor SOB. There are an aweful lot of people involved. Hopefully some of them are able to multitask.
        But I'm afraid the role and the goals of the NSA(and a great many other letters, too!) will be discussed behind closed doors. They are quite useful and have foiled a lot of enemy plots. Only we can't quite tell you how many s

  • I wonder if this was a policy hearing or an investigative hearing. If it was an investigative hearing he should have sworn an oath to tell the truth. If what he says is true, I am troubled that the director of national intelligence did not know of the data collection. I don't believe what he's now saying, but if it's true then WTF is going on? Otherwise, he lied to Congress and was caught. On a related note, why is intelligence policy being reviewed in a public committee? He should have just refused to ans
    • by statusbar (314703)

      He either outright knowingly lied before, or is incompetent. Not much intelligence there....

  • by wbr1 (2538558) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:12AM (#44174477)

    You may get mad and say why not call it what it what it is, a lie, but there is a reason for doing it this way.

    On the surface it looks like he is trying to cover his ass, perform damage control

    Happens all the time in politics, and makes sense, on the surface.

    However, I think there is a deeper reason. One, news that makes some of the public upset comes out. Step one is to deny. This gives the public what they want to hear, that it isn't true. Most go back to TMZ, or whatever other crap they do. Then when the lie is outed, you try to soften it some by saying it was a mistake, an erroor, or I misspoke. Some people will go WTF, but most are no longer paying attention. If enough are, you also have a scapegoat, the liar who misspoke. You can then, if needed chastise him/her in some way, placating another percentage of the public that is still paying attention (most aren't by now). By the time this is all done, the percentage that had the attention span and desire to follow it this far have dwindled down. Now the few that are left are left shouting into the wind, because the are too concerned with the celebrity du jour, or the sports scores to be bothered.

    Now the few that are left that care are looked at like tinfoil hatters, and conspiracy nuts. Meanwhile things are back to business as usual.

    • by bfandreas (603438)
      There is always the chance that he really didn't know about this and the secret three-letter acronyms are running amuck. I'd gladly take a lying bastard over that particular prospect.
      Who watches the watchmen? Not us, obviously.
    • Then when the lie is outed, you try to soften it some by saying it was a mistake, an erroor, or I misspoke.

      Don't overlook the other responses like one of the authors of the Patriot Act, Jim Sensenbrenner's response [house.gov]:

      As the author of the Patriot Act, I am extremely troubled by the FBI’s interpretation of this legislation. While I believe the Patriot Act appropriately balanced national security concerns and civil rights, I have always worried about potential abuses. The Bureau’s broad application for phone records was made under the so-called business records provision of the Act. I do not believe the broadly drafted FISA order is consistent with the requirements of the Patriot Act. Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and un-American.

      Oh, so now instead of taking responsibility as the author of that which has threatened your constituents it's the fault of those who interpreted the law incorrectly. Surely, then, you will go after those who interpreted the law incorrectly for breaking the spirit of the law? No? You don't say ...

      Or perhaps you'd like to hear George W. Bush's take on his responsibility [cnn.com] for his administration all

  • Far less (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dereck1701 (1922824) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:42AM (#44174599)

    "telling Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein that his statement was "clearly erroneous.""

    You mean it was clearly a lie, and you were caught. Clapper should be charged with perjury, they've done so when baseball players lied to congress about taking performance enhancing drugs how can lying to congress about illegal/unconstitutional activities that adversely effect millions of Americans merit any less? By the way, I'm noticing no official response yet on the "Pardon Snowden" White House petition. Not that I'm expecting much, I'm just curious to see what BS they parade about to justify their imprisonment of a person for minor classification violations when they do nothing about the thousands of illegal/unconstitutional acts that the whistle-blower reveals.

    • You mean it was clearly a lie, and you were caught

      No, no, no! It was clearly a simple mistake. You can't expect the Director of National Intelligence to know what data national intelligence agencies are collecting! It wasn't perjury, it was incompetence! Sweet, consequence-free incompetence.

  • Blatant Lie (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:57AM (#44174715)
    Wyden's people submitted that very question to Clapper days before the hearing even began. He was invited to append and revise his remarks after the hearing. He did neither.

    If he still has his job a few weeks from now, that will be confirmation that neither Congress nor the White House have any effective control over the US Organs of Security.
  • by doas777 (1138627) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @07:14AM (#44174821)

    Clappers office has previously released a statement that his answer was "least untruthful" he could make it, because the program was classified. this clearly implies that he was aware that the statement was false at the time he made it.
    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130610/09473723393/clapper-my-answer-to-wydens-beating-your-wife-question-data-surveillance-was-least-untruthful-answer.shtml [techdirt.com]

    Today the statement is, "I misunderstood", implying that at the time, he believed the statement he made was factual.

    So, which is it? These statements appear contradictory

  • I mean, we've got the guns, are we just going to sleep with them?

  • Here's the thing that gets me. They will go on and on about how wrong something is, that they lied and they may even admit that it's illegal and unconstitutional at some point. But what WILL NOT happen is that it will not stop. Presidential Candidate Obama promised to get rid of and undo all the crap that Bush and Co. set up and then President Obama not only forgot his promises but made things worse.

    I think that until the dark, hidden forces that are actually making these things happen are exposed, nothi

  • by Koreantoast (527520) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @09:00AM (#44175971)
    In all honesty, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) has always been a toothless, powerless position. While the job was created post-9/11 to be an integrator for all the different US intelligence services, it was structured in a way that it had no leverage (read budget control) over any of the organizations. The CIA resents DNI because it's position in theory is what the Director of the CIA is traditionally supposed to be doing. The DoD intel services get their money from the Pentagon and the FBI from the Justice Department. If anything, the DNI has been a bit of a joke in Washington DC, a cursed appointment that never amounts to anything. It gets no credit for the few public successes and is a cheap scapegoat when things go wrong. I honestly think that the DNI really didn't fully know what was going on when he went to make his presentation.
    • by bfandreas (603438)

      In all honesty, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) has always been a toothless, powerless position. While the job was created post-9/11 to be an integrator for all the different US intelligence services, it was structured in a way that it had no leverage (read budget control) over any of the organizations. The CIA resents DNI because it's position in theory is what the Director of the CIA is traditionally supposed to be doing. The DoD intel services get their money from the Pentagon and the FBI from the Justice Department. If anything, the DNI has been a bit of a joke in Washington DC, a cursed appointment that never amounts to anything. It gets no credit for the few public successes and is a cheap scapegoat when things go wrong. I honestly think that the DNI really didn't fully know what was going on when he went to make his presentation.

      That sounds about right.

      In practice he was set up to be the fall guy if the fecal matter hit the turbine at supersonic speed.

      So where would that put him on paper in the grand scheme of checks and balances? In theory?

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @09:23AM (#44176225)

    So, I want everyone to remember what happened when a sitting US president perjured himself... Bill Clinton... about a much less serious thing. Now look at what's going to happen to our intelligence director (i.e. nothing) and that should tell you where the power in our country really is.

    • Bill Clinton was let off the hook by the Senate, which apparently viewed it as OK for him to perjure himself, reasoning that the same law shouldn't apply to [a liberal Democratic] President as applies to other people. Remember Scooter Libby in the Valerie Plame affair? Bush commuted Libby's prison sentence, but Libby lost his career, paid a huge fine, and remains a felon today. But that doesn't apply to liberal democrats. This unhealthy phenomenon is back in spades today, when nobody wants to rock the b
  • by WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @09:36AM (#44176353)

    OK look if we're at this point with career NSAers being put in a position where they believe they're best option is systematically, categorically and knowingly lie to Congress then we have a very specific problem that we need make right; the problem of divergent world views.

    The world view of those in the intelligence community has radically diverged from those of both the general public and the lawmakers. That divergence is a side effect of necessary secrecy the intelligence community operates under. Over time, they've been exposed to, reasoned about and concluded more about the world using more and different information than anyone else. This had led them to assume a world view which, if it details were laid bare, most Americans would find alien, suspect and somewhat threatening to the democracy if not outright treasonous .

    Naturally, this has also led them to campaign for and take actions which are aligned with their world view.

    Some of these actions have been exposed and Americans are understandably upset.

    That's where we are now.

    The NSA's whole SOP has been to rely on the cover of secrecy to do what they think needs to be done and never mind making a case for what you do in the world of public opinion. Their only real "plan" if any of that world view got out , aside from successive attempts at damage control through limited disclosures, lies and plausible deniability - is to tighten the control over information more tightly and step up the threats against leakers. Since that has brought us to this point, and all worse points forward of this which have yet to materialize, you have to wonder if it's really the best plan.

    I don't doubt that Clapper et. al. are doing anything other than what they take to be their duty to this country *the way I can't doubt that Snowden is doing same*. To do otherwise in either case would just be to maintain a destructive, partisan lie about people and their motivations. Snowden is not a traitor who hates the US. He's not Aldrich Ames. You can close your ears and yell "NA NA NA NA I can't heeaaaar you", but the truth is the truth is the truth. So face it. Admit it. The real goal has to be to get at the root of the problem, understand it and fix it.

    The root of the problem is that one part of our defense forces (widely considered) is either in an echo chamber ala The Rand corporation and Vietnam ala '60-'75 or they do actually know better and more than the rest of us. Or both. It's not a fiction that technology is delivering to the world new threats which are potentially grave and far reaching and the prospects for counter-measures against those threats are meager.

    One unpleasant fact may be that we need to organize ourselves on a world-wide basis very very differently than we do now. It's hard to think clearly about, but it needs to be done.

    What can't go on is this schizophrenia involving a highly informed, highly serious, highly capable, highly motivated intelligence community that listens only to itself and Everybody Else, which by the way includes people who don powder wigs and tri- corner hats and seriously believe they can take America back to the 18th century without ill effect because *some things never change*....

    The danger is the NSA et al are exactly where the Rand corporation was- overly certain of their methods, reasoning and conclusions and considering every oppositional voice to be naive, unpatriotic and idiotic all the while becoming narrower and narrower in their world view, their thinking and their goals.

    It's the HAL9000 issue, right? You're an entity that knows more, you have secret knowledge about a critical secret mission. You cannot tell the mere humans or they'd screw it up. You're feeding on yourself in a way that you're not programmed to be aware of and the only structural checks in place are internal, or friendlies.

    Meanwhile, outsiders, (even those on the inside apparently), can see you're getting weird. You're starting to lie, even to your minders. In response, you use you

  • What exactly is the director supposed to do? Senator knew the answer, knew it was classified, but asked it anyway in open session. Director's staff acknowledged after that the answer wasn't "accurate", but were also not allowed to correct the public record.

  • by almitydave (2452422) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @10:22AM (#44176991)

    "Oh, you mean that domestic telephone surveillance program. I thought you were talking about the... er, something else."

    My favorite line (from another article): "Clapper had previously said that his answer to the committee was the 'least untruthful' one he could publicly provide."

    In other words, "I only lied as much as I had to." Such honesty.

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