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View Diary: Clapper Admits He Lied to Congress in Letter Posted by Senator Wyden (237 comments)

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  •  it depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is (8+ / 0-)

    Given the importance of the issues at stake this kind of dishonest semantic game is not as amusing as when Bill Clinton did it.

    •  No, it's not even that (3+ / 0-)

      He answered the question as asked.  His response is not a lie based on the written answers provided to Sen. Wyden.  

      Sorry, but Wyden has a JD and has been doing this sort of thing for years, so he should know better in framing his questions.  Essentially, he gave Clapper an out here.

      I'm sorry for everyone wanting this to be a lie, but it ain't based on the info in this diary.  

      And anyways, don't you think there is much more to the story to get excited about than this?

      To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

      by dizzydean on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 11:10:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Except for the whole telephone metadata thing. n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        on the cusp, Dumbo
        •  Which is where in this diary? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KateCrashes

          Truth is that I don't like what has been happening, but if you want to start talking about prosecutions of public officials, you need a credible case.  That is not here.

          To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

          by dizzydean on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 01:49:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KJG52, wayoutinthestix

            ...They only denied the ongoing collection of bulk internet data, not bulk phone metadata.  Given that they've pretty much admitted to the collection of metadata (if only through defending such,) and haven't denied that it's still ongoing, I think it's applicable.

            •  I don't see that from their written statement. (0+ / 0-)

              This:

              The Government terminated this collection program in 2011 for operational and resource reasons as reflected in the classified December 2, 2011 letter to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. NSA has not used USA PATRIOT Act authorities to conduct bulk collection of any other types of records.
              Seems to indicate that there was a program that was terminated in 2011.  The first sentence:
              In addition to the bulk telephony metadata collection, NSA has in the past used FISA authorities to collect bulk Internet metadata.
              Could be seen as indicating an ongoing collection, but that is unclear from the answer.  

              Again, based solely on what the diary has presented, there is no evidence of perjury or contempt of Congress stemming from the March testimony.

              Lord help me, but I'm reminded of how many of us (me included) thought that Wilson had proof enough to frogmarch Karl Rove, but it wasn't there.  Sucks, but we have to get beyond the hyperbolic stuff and focus on what is really important.  

              You tell me what's more important--seeing Clapper go to jail (unlikely) or reforming the NSA metadata collection process (possible, given the recent House vote)?

              To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

              by dizzydean on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 02:18:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You left out an important bit of context. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                wayoutinthestix

                "In addition to the bulk telephony metadata collection, NSA has in the past used FISA authorities to collect bulk Internet metadata. The Government terminated this collection program in 2011."

                That leading clause is important.  Given the syntax of that statement, they're indicating that they have collected bulk telephony data and bulk internet metadata, but the program to collect internet metadata was halted in 2011.  Since no effective statement was made that the bulk telephony data collection was halted, and given the information leaked by Snowden, along with other statements made at other times, we can assume that the collection of telephony data is still ongoing.

                Given that the letter regarding the termination of the program that was issued is classified, we cannot refer to it to see if this was a simple syntactical error.  Given the classified nature of the programs, we cannot know whether the bulk internet data collection and bulk telephony data programs were part of the same program -- but given the information provided by Snowden, it appears that they were two different programs.  Therefore, that portion of the letter effectively comes down to these three assertations:

                In short, the NSA made three statements:
                1: The NSA has in the past collected telephony data.
                2: The NSA has in the past collected internet data.
                3: The NSA has halted the collection of internet data.

                That is all.  You appear to have bought into the rhetorical trick inherent in their statement, that they implied that the collection of both has halted -- but they said no such thing.

                •  Well, that's an assumption made in part with (0+ / 0-)

                  info from Snowden, which is not usable at this point.  Should Snowden return to the US and become a witness for the state, then you can use it.  Until then, we've got too many filters and half-releases for anything of use.

                  Look, I'd like to see some folks be held accountable.  I really would.  Snowden is acting more like a Kim Philby-lite at this stage, and should not be taken seriously other than bringing the issue to the public's attention.

                  Furthermore, you have a collection effort that, based on public disclosures not from Snowden, appears to conform with the Patiot Act and FISA court laws.  

                  What Wyden asked specifically:  

                  "Yes or no - Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"
                  Based on what we know, this was an honest answer.

                  To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

                  by dizzydean on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 03:05:28 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That's possibly the most ridiculous statement I've (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Dumbo, wayoutinthestix

                    heard all day -- that we can't use the information that Snowden provided because he's fled.  The information that Snowden released hasn't been, to my knowledge, specifically rebutted by the NSA.  They haven't denied that PRISM exists or that the internet collection program existed.  The information he released indicated that the telephony and internet collection programs were two different programs -- and that is consistent with the way that the NSA and government programs tend to work in general.

                    "Furthermore, you have a collection effort that, based on public disclosures not from Snowden, appears to conform with the Patiot Act and FISA court laws."

                    Except that it does not.  The laws as written forbid the collection of data of american citizens.  Since the NSA has an interpretation of the word 'collect' which is radically at odds with common usage and common sense, you can only say that his statement is true by using that perverted definition.  By their definition, spam doesn't 'collect' in my inbox until I actually open and download it.

                    •  Ya know, that whole chain of evidence thing (0+ / 0-)

                      and being able to challenge one's accusers or the evidence presented in court.  Subject not present, can't use it.  Hearsay.  Why do you think there has been an effort to get journalists (or "journalists") to reveal their sources in criminal prosecutions.  

                      As far as this:

                      The laws as written forbid the collection of data of american citizens.
                      Go read up on pen registers and what it takes to gain the sorts of information that has been collected.  That kind of authority has been around for a long time...

                      Maybe before you say something is reidiculous, you should check first.

                      To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

                      by dizzydean on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 03:52:12 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Your argument about the evidence being hearsay (0+ / 0-)

                        is rather invalidated by the statements of various government agencies to their employees that they can lose their job or be subject to criminal prosecution if they download the leaked information that Snowden leaked to The Guardian, along with the blocking of those pages on government websites.  This is pretty much a confirmation that the information leaked was classified, and, thus, apparently accurate.

                      •  Also... (0+ / 0-)

                        This isn't hearsay anyway.  I would suggest you read up on it.  Hearsay is specifically applied to what may be entered into evidence during an actual criminal or civil case.  Hearsay is sufficient to subpoena witnesses and documents, and it can be sufficient to issue arrest or search warrants.  Furthermore, in this case, even if it was in court, it specifically meets an exception to the hearsay rules because it's regarding government records.

                        •  And you think you can get a contempt of Congress (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          seancdaug

                          ruling on this?  

                          In all honesty, this argument is running around in circles--nothing can be done in seriousness with the Snowden stuff until more is revealed.  The Snowden docs and revelations themselves only get you so far.  What is really needed is a congressional investigation (an honest one, not a Darryl Issa BS thing) and more info being released, such as the FISA court ruling that is the target of Wyden's bill from June.  

                          I believe that we all need this, because (1) it takes the emphasis off of Snowden and puts it firmly on the issue and (2) it is the best way to ensure that decent legislation is produced.

                          Unfortunately, given the state of the House right now, I doubt that much good will come from there.

                          In the meantime, calls for Clapper's head based on what we have so far are counter-productive--that places the focus on the players and not the system.  The system is the thing that needs reforming.  I hope everyone here can agree to that....

                          To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

                          by dizzydean on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 05:25:02 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  chain of evidence... (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        wayoutinthestix, dizzydean

                        This isn't a murder trial.  The accused works for the US Government.  It's not Snowden's word against Clapper's because he only released the government's own documents, and they know whether they are correct or not.  

                        Of course, our own government COULD act as a dishonest agent and not admit that they are true documents, even though they are.  But they could not play chain of evidence games with any court and get away with it.

                        And they seem very anxious to nail Snowden, afraid of terrible, terrible things that might be on one of his laptops.  It might be he has more smoking guns that are both gunnier and smokier, and we may get to see them sometime soon.

                        •  The documents I have seen from the Guardian are (0+ / 0-)

                          clearly not of the same file, or if they are, are pulled from different parts of the file.  Maybe Snowden did not have access to all of the records showing the authorization chain or the judge's ruling, but essentially what has been released is a bunch of piece-parts.  That's why chain of custody is significant here--you have an actor producing things which may or may not reflect the entirety of the picture.  So no, no judge will allow this to be used.  

                          Now, again, I'm not against an investigation, but I feel it has to be done in a way to maximize the credibility.  Be happy that Snowden brought the issue to light, but he's done in terms of providing actionable information or material.  

                          To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

                          by dizzydean on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 06:37:24 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  wow (0+ / 0-)
                    should not be taken seriously other than bringing the issue to the public's attention

                    To the NSA douchebag who is reading this: "Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

                    by Indiana Bob on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:27:16 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Also... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dizzydean, SadieSue, wayoutinthestix

                ...In reply to the last bit you wrote --

                You tell me what's more important--seeing Clapper go to jail (unlikely) or reforming the NSA metadata collection process (possible, given the recent House vote)?
                I'd say that both are important.  Why is it an either/or issue?  We cannot have government employees lie, under oath, about the nature of government programs.  If we cannot as a nation obtain accurate information about these programs, the existence of these programs, and whether these programs are ongoing, we cannot reform them.
                •  Remember Karl Rove and Joe Wilson (0+ / 0-)

                  I do.  I thought the whole rationale for the evil war Bush started could be rolled up and Rove frogmarched to a Supermax prison where he belongs.  Didn't happen in either case.  

                  First off, it's extremely difficult to prove an official has lied to Congress.  And right now, here is not a solid case against Clapper, regardless of what you read here at DK.  

                  Second, if you really and truly want information about the programs, rather than rely on Snowden or others to disclose more of what they see fit, support Wyden's bill to make the FISA court's rulings on the program public.  That would go a very long way to show whether the programs went beyond the meaning of Congress and be a major stepping stone for reform.  

                  In other words, I'd like to see real Congressional action, real hearings, and real evidence to craft new legislation to reign in what has been going on, rather than knee jerk assumptions based on some pretty flimsy stuff.

                  To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

                  by dizzydean on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 03:10:47 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Please be aware of the definition (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                wayoutinthestix

                of "collect" that Clapper was using, as he explained to Andrea Mitchell if he had perjured himself:

                To me,” he said, “collection of U.S. persons’ data would mean taking the book off the shelf and opening it up and reading it.”
                Of course, nobody KNEW that was his new definition of the word collect.  They can put all kinds of personal shit about you in the database but it's not really "collecting" until they use it in some way he finds more relevant.
      •  Ha ha, it's Wyden's fault (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        on the cusp, Lost and Found, 3goldens

        Another talking point is born.

        "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

        by Lost Left Coaster on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 01:39:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, it's reality (0+ / 0-)

          Look, the diary posited a written response as proof of lying to Congress.  Comparing the question to the responses, it is very clear that no lie is present from this information.  Sorry you can't see that, but the evidence presented does not support the assertion.

          You want to put Clapper behind bars?  Fine, but you'll need something a hell of a lot more substantive.

          To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

          by dizzydean on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 01:47:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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