Skip to main content

Ron Wyden at a September 2012 hearing of the Senate Energy Committee
Sen. Ron Wyden
Sen. Ron Wyden says Director of National Intelligence James Clapper did not give him a "straight answer" to his question about the NSA data collection operation at an Intelligence Committee hearing in March. That's despite the fact that Clapper knew the question was coming. Here's Wyden's statement:
“One of the most important responsibilities a Senator has is oversight of the intelligence community.  This job cannot be done responsibly if Senators aren’t getting straight answers to direct questions. When NSA Director Alexander failed to clarify previous public statements about domestic surveillance, it was necessary to put the question to the Director of National Intelligence.  So that he would be prepared to answer, I sent the question to Director Clapper’s office a day in advance.  After the hearing was over my staff and I gave his office a chance to amend his answer.  Now public hearings are needed to address the recent disclosures and the American people have the right to expect straight answers from the intelligence leadership to the questions asked by their representatives.”
Clapper has argued that the question was unfair, "like 'When are you going to stop beating your wife?'" and that he and Wyden just weren't talking about the same thing when they talked about "collection." But now we know that Clapper had a day to clarify with Wyden what he was going to be asked. That there could be any question about what Wyden was asking—about the NSA program that he had been briefed on and which has now been make public—has been laughable all along. Now that we know Clapper was clued in ahead of time, it's even more absurd.

It's time for Clapper to come back before the committee with more direct answers. Wyden's ratcheting up of this dispute could be a prelude to that.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:42 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (37+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:42:24 AM PDT

  •  Why do I feel like Clapper's about (12+ / 0-)

    to pull a Clinton and start ruminating on definitions of basic linguistic constructs?

    Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
    Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
    Code Monkey like you!

    Formerly known as Jyrinx.

    by Code Monkey on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:49:04 AM PDT

  •  Liar, liar, pants on fire. (9+ / 0-)

    Your nose is longer than an intercontinental telephone wire.

  •  Clapper better stay away from rivers and canoes. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, JML9999
  •  Joan, not trying to hijack your good diary (7+ / 0-)

    , just want to point out that the guardian has an excellent series of articles and links today: http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

    some clips:

    Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.
    With the help of a US-funded GCHQ listening station at Bude on North Cornwall, the two agencies did each other's dirty work, getting round their domestic laws by spying on each other's citizens.
    “One of the most important responsibilities a Senator has is oversight of the intelligence community. This job cannot be done responsibly if Senators aren’t getting straight answers to direct questions," Wyden said in a Tuesday statement.

    When asked directly by Wyden in March whether the NSA was collecting any kind of data on "millions" of Americans, Clapper replied "no" and "not wittingly" -- a claim undermined by the Guardian's disclosures about NSA collection of millions of Americans' phone records.

    "When NSA Director Alexander failed to clarify previous public statements about domestic surveillance, it was necessary to put the question to the Director of National Intelligence," Wyden said in the statement. "So that he would be prepared to answer, I sent the question to Director Clapper’s office a day in advance. After the hearing was over my staff and I gave his office a chance to amend his answer. Now public hearings are needed to address the recent disclosures and the American people have the right to expect straight answers from the intelligence leadership to the questions asked by their representatives.”

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:53:30 AM PDT

    •  oops, meant to paste this instead of (6+ / 0-)

      repeating Wyden's statement...

      In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Katharine Gun was charged with leaking a secret email from the NSA requesting GCHQ for help in what amounted to a dirty tricks campaign: a plan for the bugging of offices and homes in New York belonging to UN diplomats from the six "swing states", countries whose support would be vital if Washington and London were to win a Security Council resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq.

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:00:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Clapper and other witnesses have 3 choices: (7+ / 0-)

    1.  Answer honestly and truthfully;

    2.  Respond that the answer needs to be in a classified setting; or

    3.  Respond that he has been directed by the President not to respond.  I assume this response would never be given in a public forum and that it would only be given, if ever, after #2 above leads to a classified hearing.

    An awkward question asked of an intelligence official in a public hearing is never a justification for lying.  Clapper knows this as do other Administration officials.

  •  Here's an interesting view on the NSA from (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doroma, DRo

    Senator Al Franken (D) on the Judiciary Committee:

    http://www.startribune.com/...

    Best. President. Ever.

    by Little Lulu on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:56:02 AM PDT

    •  Franken completely contradicts himself (10+ / 0-)

      on one hand he says that it is right that he should know stuff that we don't because if we know it the bad guys know it and that their is basically no problem  and within 30 seconds he is saying that there needs to be more transparency and the American people deserve to know more.

      This says more about Franken than it does about the issue.

      •  I don't understand how people expect to be (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        johnny wurster

        protected from foreign or domestic agents launching secret attacks on our soil, but want any intelligence tracking those agents made public.  I mean, how does that work, exactly?

        More transparency doesn't mean we have to know who, exactly, and where, exactly any agents planning an attack are located, does it?  Wouldn't that be counter-productive to stopping them?  Hey, armed attacker!  There's a surveillance camera tracking you!  Get rid of your cell phone so you can succeed with your mission!

        If this government could have stopped the Boston terrorists by tracking them using FISA warrants that gave the government access to their every move, would you have insisted we all know what the government was doing in this regard beforehand?  And do you think that would have helped or hurt the government's purpose in that regard?

        Sorry.  I think Sen. Franken has it right and he's not contradicting himself at all.

        Best. President. Ever.

        by Little Lulu on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:19:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Speaking for myself (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jo Bob, maryabein

          If they ever manage to stumble on a terrorist attack (which doesn't look likely), yes, I would like to know beforehand before I get my legs blown off.

          •  They've thwarted attacks, but I guess that doesn't (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            johnny wurster

            count and if they alert an attacker beforehand by alerting you, the attacker can make alternate plans to evade them and CARRY OUT THE ATTACK.  Alerting a terrorist doesn't help YOU, or anyone other than the terrorist.

            Yeesh.

            Best. President. Ever.

            by Little Lulu on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:52:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What attacks? (0+ / 0-)

              DiFi was asked about this and could only come up with Mumbai (which was actually a success bombing).

              No thwarting I can see.  

              And you're pretty quick to volunteer other people to act as bait for the terrorists.

              •  Volunteering you as "bait?". WTH? Are you (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                johnny wurster

                kidding?  Having the ability to track attackers without their knowledge and STOPPING THEM from bombing YOU is the opposite of using you as "bait."

                And you seem to be forgetting the much hated drone attacks that have taken out loads of al Qaida new number ones the moment they make that announcement.  Wonder how we found 'em to blow 'em away?  Couldn't be covert surveillance on our part, could it?  Nah!  That would mean the government can actually get stuff done and that's aintithetical to your premise, isn't it?

                Best. President. Ever.

                by Little Lulu on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:47:38 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  disapointing, eom (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thegood thebad thedumb, smiley7

      Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

      by DRo on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:06:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  was he sworn in? (9+ / 0-)

    prosecute the f*cker for perjury (yeah right - in some alternative universe).  And the way he tried to squirm out of his lies was just insulting.  Fire him at least.

  •  I don't suppose they take any kind of (7+ / 0-)

    oath at a Senate hearing to tell the truth----so Clapper can't be accused of perjury.  But he should be called out bluntly for lying to a Senate panel, and, by extension, to the citizens of this country.  This isn't about the DNI and a U.S. Senator gossiping over the table during the morning coffee break.  It's about the integrity and credibility of those who run our nation's intelligence apparatus.  Right now, they're on pretty damn thin ice.  It was abundantly clear that Clapper was lying to Wyden at that hearing----Clapper's body language leaked it as did his fumbling and bumbling wording just to get an answer out to Wyden.  And for him to then whine and complain afterwards that it was a "gotcha" question in light of what Wyden now states clearly,  is truly offensive.  

    "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

    by 3goldens on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:56:55 AM PDT

  •  I think we're about to hear some new (5+ / 0-)

    version of the infamous "I do not recall" answer from Mr. Clapper. The only question is will the Q&A be public or private?

    Fuck me! He made it. Will Scarlet

    by dagolfnut on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:59:00 AM PDT

  •  They wanted to throw Roger Clemens in jail (15+ / 0-)

    to lying to congress over fucking baseball, yet this palooka gets a pass on this?

    No sireebob.

  •  advance, not advanced (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Code Monkey

    -- at least I believe so ---

    " ... advance warning ..." as in " .. a pretty advanced warning system, giving us advance warning ... "

    Just wondering.

  •  Clapper in NSA anniversary document (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ichibon, smiley7, native

    60 year annivesary booklet with letters at the front from many people including Obama and a hand written note on the letter from James Clapper

    I "grew up" in the SIGINT business, including two tours at NSA, as well services on the Advisory Board. I have a special place in my heart for the Agency and its superb people.
    (quotation marks and underline in original note)

    the NSA has been around for 60 years

    http://www.nsa.gov/...

    and the NSA home page

    http://www.nsa.gov/

    I am not an expert, but the wiki page on the NSA looks OK. For sure, very few Americans know about what they are and what they do.

  •  Clapper, a former Booz Allen executive... (9+ / 0-)

    Like Mr Snowden, Clapper was a  Booz Allen employee.

    So another question we could ask our feckless congress critters to ask at some feckless public committee would be:  why does the U.S. government continue to pay such a dubious farm team like Booz Allen?  (ooo, that ought to get this comment traced via PRISM)

    •  more... (5+ / 0-)

      Mike McConnell, the former NSA director and director of national intelligence who currently is vice chairman of Booz Allen Hamilton, has netted an estimated $1.8m in 2013 by selling Booz Allen shares and options, the Daily Beast reports:

          Since January 15, according to Yahoo Finance, McConnell has exercised options on shares and sold the shares the same day on eight occasions. ... So far this year, through automatic sales plans, he has exercised options on 213,890 shares and sold them the same day for a total profit of $1.8 million.

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:10:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for staying on this story Joan/MB... (11+ / 0-)

    It's appreciated.

  •  Clapper has said he answered Wyden in the, (14+ / 0-)

    "..least untruthful manner he could."
    Does this mean getting a lie down to 99.9% is truth?
    Puhleeze!

    The Great Awakening Is Afire! Think outside the box or remain mundane.

    by franklyn on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:04:40 AM PDT

  •  My thanks to Joan, the diarist, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell

    for staying on top of an important and sensitive issue without resorting to over-the-top hyperbole condemnation or pre-justification of officials' actions.

    "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

    by Australian2 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:07:14 AM PDT

  •  So he's in the Spying biz (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Code Monkey, Timaeus, native

    but that dude has a big tell.  :)

    Go Ron Wyden!  Who has been on this for years.  So glad he's one of mine on this matter.

    "Love One Another" ~ George Harrison

    by Damnit Janet on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:09:50 AM PDT

  •  Well, (3+ / 0-)
    With the help of a US-funded GCHQ listening station at Bude on North Cornwall, the two agencies did each other's dirty work, getting round their domestic laws by spying on each other's citizens.
    This sure makes the excuse of 'only foreign' look even more rediculious than stated.

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:13:30 AM PDT

  •  he lied to congress (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice, greenbell

    and he had the question a day in advance

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by greenbastard on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:14:15 AM PDT

  •  What Difference Does It Make What Clapper Says (0+ / 0-)

    Congress has jurisdiction over these NSA programs.  They can open up all documentation and look at everything themselves.  If things don't look right then congress can close down the programs.  If they want open hearings fine, but why don't congress do their jobs and find out what the real deal on these programs are.  I doubt if they will get them in open hearings, but who knows.  The problem is do we really want our enemies to know everything that is going on with our security defense?  I don't think so.  If the law is being broken than just fix the law.  Congress can do that in one day.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:19:18 AM PDT

  •  Salon: Clapper DESIGNED the NSA privatization (9+ / 0-)

    I'm copying a comment I made in the thread of Blicero's diarly 'Digital Blackwater'  (  http://www.dailykos.com/...  )

    The diary cites an article at Salon on the NSA's privatized network of corporations that are doing the 'outsourcing' of surveillance on Americans (and others).  The Salon article is a short read -- and an important one.  Please read it.

    Here's my comment from that thread:

    James Clapper -- who lied to Congress about NSA'a collection of info on Americans -- freaking DESIGNED the privatization of NSA.  Srom the Aslon article cited in this diary --
    http://www.salon.com/....
    But how did NSA, long considered the crown jewel of U.S. intelligence, become so privatized in the first place?

    In the late 1990s, faced with a telecommunications and technological revolution that threatened to make the NSA’s telephonic and radar-based surveillance skills obsolete, the agency decided to turn to private corporations for many of its technical needs.

    The outsourcing plan was finalized in 2000 by a special NSA Advisory Board set up to determine the agency’s future and codified in a secret report written by a then-obscure intelligence officer named James Clapper. “Clapper did a one-man study for the NSA Advisory Board,” recalls Ed Loomis, a 40-year NSA veteran who, along with Binney and two others, blew the whistle on corporate corruption at the NSA.

    “His recommendation was that NSA acquire its Internet capabilities from the private sector. The idea was, the private sector had the capability and we at NSA didn’t need to reinvent the wheel.”

    Hayden, who was the NSA director at the time, “put a lot of trust in the private sector, and a lot of trust in Clapper, because Clapper was his mentor,” added Loomis. And once he got approval, “he was hell-bent on privatization and nothing was going to derail that.” Clapper is now President Obama’s director of national intelligence, and has denounced the Guardian leaks as “reprehensible.”

    Yikes.  Complete with typos, I see now.  Sorry.

    As I see this at this point, Clapper designed the outsourcing-government interface to divide and compartmentalize functions (stages) in the process.  This allows him to make his 'least untruthful' statement that NSA does not 'collect' data ('not wittingly').  No:  NSA stores and saves for later analysis data that was 'collected' by others (outsourcers).  NSA only engages in its (legally defined) 'collection' after geting the FISA court's rubber-stamp.

    (Over 100 BILLION emails per day collected through Narus, also in the article.)

    Sorry if this is disjointed.  My mind is just boggled by all this, and my disabilities aren't letting my fingers work too well right now.

  •  Clapper has the credentials to be a... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, side pocket, atana, native

    ...top intelligence geek.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    He commanded a signals intelligence detachment in Thailand (where he flew 73 combat support missions in EC-47s), a signals intelligence SIGINT
    Clapper served as director of intelligence for three of the unified commands
    Clapper's final military post was as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency
    After this he briefly served as an executive in several private companies such as Booz Allen Hamilton and SRA International
    SRA is nothing but an extension of the NSA

    And he is where he is today because Bush put him there;

    After his departure from NGA in June 2006, Clapper briefly served as the chief operating officer for Detica DFI, now a US-based subsidiary of BAE Systems. For the 2006-2007 academic year, Clapper held the position of Georgetown University’s Intelligence and National Security Alliance Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Intelligence.[16] While teaching at Georgetown, Clapper was officially nominated by President George W. Bush to be Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence on 29 January 2007. Clapper was confirmed by the United States Senate on 11 April 2007.[17] He was only the second person to hold this position, which oversees and provides policy, program, and budgetary guidance to the defense intelligence agencies—DIA, NGA, the National Security Agency (NSA), and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)—and also works closely with the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).
    Clapper may be the "father" of the gigantic intelligence apparatus we now discuss thanks to Ed Snowden.

    I heard him speak on MSNBC with Andrea Mitchell when he said;

    Ms. Mitchell: Can you give me any examples where it has actually prevented a terror plot?

    Director Clapper: Well, two cases that come to mind, which are a little dated, but I think in the interest of this discourse, should be shared with the American people, they both occurred in 2009, one was the aborted plot to bomb the subway in New York City in the fall of 2009. And this all started with a communication from Pakistan to a U.S. person in Colorado. And that led to the identification of a cell in New York City who was bent on a major explosion, bombing of the New York City subway. And a cell was rolled up and in their apartment we found backpacks with bombs. A second example, also occurring in 2009, involved one of those involved, the perpetrators of the Mumbai bombing in India, David Headly. And we aborted a plot against a Danish news publisher based on the same kind of information. So those are two specific cases of uncovering plots through this mechanism that prevented terrorist attacks.

    But in Wikipedia at least there is nothing that tells me that this massive data mining apparatus had or should have had anything to do with the capture of the NY cell or the other two examples.  Normal intelligence should have done it.  And this is where Clapper fails.  He only knows how to use the "hammer" of massive data collection and all problems look like "nails" of data crunching to him.  His background is SIGINT and not HUMINT.

    I believe that Clapper is enamored with the ability to muster huge budgets to build this intelligence infrastructure and he is grasping at straws to justify this massive violation of the 4th Amendment.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:24:15 AM PDT

  •  Clapper lied under oath. That's perjury. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jo Bob, greenbell

    He should be fired and then he should be prosecuted.  He is a criminal.

    I can hardly believe his crap yesterday about how he gave the "least untruthful answer."  He is a liar.

    And where is Obama on this?

    I keep wondering what happened to Obama.  The man in office now is nothing like the 2008 candidate.  I keep imagining that right after the inauguration he was shown to a back room at the White House and had the law laid down to him about who is really in charge and what he is not permitted to do.

  •  Time for Clapper to resign, imho. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jo Bob

    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything - unknown

    by incognita on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:32:20 AM PDT

  •  Cabinet officers can be impeached. (0+ / 0-)

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:46:27 AM PDT

  •  Clapper lied under oath. (0+ / 0-)

    Indict the bastard.

    "The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little. " --Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by jg6544 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:56:50 AM PDT

  •  I love ya Ron but? (0+ / 0-)

    “One of the most important responsibilities a Senator has is oversight of the intelligence community." HAHAHAHAHA! Good one!

  •  People are nuts (0+ / 0-)

    On the list of bad things that might happen, terrorist attack ranks about 30 millionth. You will win the lottery before you are injured by a terrorist.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site