There has been a major flap in the blogsphere over the revelation that the independent review of NSA activities that the president promised in his news conference on Friday would be managed by James Clapper, Director of Intelligence. Here are the most complete details that I have found on official administration responses to the criticism.
This is a blog post form the New Yorker with commentary mixed in with quotes. It is not a more formal news report.
The choice of Clapper came in for some instant mockery. The White House, as has been the case throughout the N.S.A. story, said that the problem was that people had misunderstood. Caitlin Hayden, a National Security Council spokeswoman, said in an e-mail that “the panel members are being selected by the White House, in consultation with the Intelligence Community,” not by Clapper alone, and that he wouldn’t be “directing” them or determining their conclusions. But, administratively, they needed a home, “and the D.N.I.’s office is the right place to provide that,” what with the need for security clearances and all. Bureaucratic tidiness is not what’s called for at the moment, though, especially at the expense of independence, given the depth of people’s doubts about the surveillance programs, and it is not what the President appeared to promise. Obama’s directives for the group don’t match the moment, either:So Ms. Hayden seems to be implying that Clappers role will be some sort of bureaucratic nanny. It sounds like he is going to be in a position to control much of the committee process and most importantly what information they have access to.
In this diary on Daily Kos earlier today a claim was made that there going to be two separate reviews. One an internal review directed by Clapper and a yet to be named independent panel. The administration response about Clapper's role makes it very clear that there is only one review panel and that Clapper is playing a pivotal role in its formation and operation.
As Alice said, "It gets couriouser and couriouser.".