James Clapper Admits That The Debate Snowden Created 'Needed To Happen'

from the then-why-didn't-it-happen dept

Director of National Intelligence and confessed liar to Congress, James Clapper, has now admitted that the debate over what the intelligence community has been doing, brought on by Ed Snowden's leaks, "needed to happen."
"I think it's clear that some of the conversations this has generated, some of the debate, actually needed to happen," Clapper told a defense and intelligence contractor trade group. "If there's a good side to this, maybe that's it."
Well, isn't that interesting? Of course, considering that he was the Director of National Intelligence and that the oversight committee, which is supposed to keep him in line, tried to start that debate a few months ago and Clapper's response was to flat-out lie to them, it seems worth questioning why it appears that he did everything possible to avoid having that debate? It also raises the question of why he's still in a job (and not facing charges).

Clapper also admits that he knows that the leaks aren't done:
"Unfortunately, there is more to come," he said.
Seeing as the existing leaks helped push forward a debate that "needed to happen," I don't see what's so unfortunate about that.

Clapper also insisted that those awful journalists covering the story have been letting their minds run wild:
Journalists examining the surveillance programs that Snowden disclosed "go to the deepest darkest place they can and make the most conspiratorial case for what the intelligence community is doing."
Two things about that. First, so far what we've seen after pretty much every leak is that Clapper's office or others in the administration make a statement that includes a bunch of weasel words that are redefined to mean something different than what the public actually thinks -- and those "non-lie lies" are then exposed in later revelations from the leaks. Given that, is it really any surprise that people have little trust in what the intelligence community is saying?

Second, you know how you avoid having journalists take the details of the program and "going to the deepest darkest place and making the most conspiratorial case for what the intelligence community is doing"? It's called being more open and transparent and actually having the debate that you're now running from.

Besides, considering some of the existing leaks about rampant abuses (some not defined as abuses), dreadful coverups, the inability to know what Snowden took or how he took it, the economic espionage, the finding internal informants to help get around encryption and a variety of other very questionable things, is it any wonder that people don't trust the NSA?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Sep 13th, 2013 @ 7:41am

    He's only admitting it because there has been a lot of damage and outrage already. If not the "intel community" would be still blissfully violating every shred of law and Constitution it could. I do believe they are STILL doing it.

    This would sound more honest and wholeheartedly if it came days after the leaks started. But we know what happened and Snowden is now trapped in Russia and chased by the US Govt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 9:12am

    Clapper never wanted this debate to happen, and still doesn't want it to happen. His 'actions' of repeatedly lying to the American people, and felonious lying to Congress, show beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a compulsive liar with zero credibility.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 9:35am

    Clapper, never wanted this debate to happen, and still doesn't want it to happen. His 'actions' of repeatedly lying to the American people, and felonious lying to Congress. Prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he is a compulsive liar with zero credibility.

    All he does is have agents spy on law-abiding American citizens, and then he hands over that intelligence information to the Israelis. So foreign nationals can spy on law-abiding citizens even further!

    James Clapper has no respect for the American people. The very people funding his spying expedition. He betrays them at every turn.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Michael, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 9:36am

    James Clapper Admits That The Debate Snowden Created 'Needed To Happen'

    I'm totally confused.

    I'm pretty sure that this debate really needed to happen, but I am in a quandry because I am have been conditioned to not believe anything this guys says.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 9:46am

    Does not "needed to happen" imply was caused?

    The limited hangout notion keeps accumulating evidence. The people who run those programs use them to gauge the public mood, so it's simply logical that a "need" would receive attention and create a publicity stunt. Even if you believe Snowden is a good guy, he could have been fed info or guided in his thinking.

    There's no question why Clapper still has a job and isn't facing charges: the WHOLE system is corrupt in every place and every way that human ingenuity can devise. Even those who study it are surprised at the audacity and breadth of the corruption: basically everything brainstormed that looked at all to bring wanted results (more surveillance, more centralized power) has been implemented, because NSA is not constrained by budget limits.

    For example, there's a whole secret club for executives:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/InfraGard
    Wikipedia as usual glosses what should now be regarded as ominous: "mutual nondisclosure agreements among its members". And as usual, none of this is really new or secret: fairly obvious fascism to those who wish to be informed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    TheLastCzarnian (profile), Sep 13th, 2013 @ 9:50am

    Always darkest before it goes totally black

    Journalists examining the surveillance programs that Snowden disclosed "go to the deepest darkest place they can and make the most conspiratorial case for what the intelligence community is doing."

    ...and a week later, a new leak shows it was really deeper and darker than anyone thought.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 9:51am

    I take it that you have not "friended" Clapper on FB.

    Repeatedly calling him a liar at every opportunity is wearing thin for any number of reasons, but perhaps the most important is that he was deliberately put in the position he was before the Senate committee when Wyden decided to set him up, knowing full well that the only answer Clapper could give at that public hearing could not be truthful. Were you ever to hold a security clearance, and especially one many levels above Top Secret, why this is so would be immediately apparent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 9:56am

    "Journalists examining the surveillance programs that Snowden disclosed "go to the deepest darkest place they can and make the most conspiratorial case for what the intelligence community is doing." "

    This is true, but it is also the NSA's fault.

    After the countless leaks, people got lost. without knowing who or what to trust any more. Naturally, people started to adopt an extreme defensive position: they trust no one.

    Just look at the latest Linux kernel kerfuffle around rdrand*. Some crackpot saw Intel+NSA+hardware entropy generator and immediately went berserk, claiming that kernel developers were in bed with the NSA for allowing such a "dangerous" instruction to be used by the kernel random number generator. His view was that you couldn't trust it, since the NSA might've tampered with it so that random number generators would produce "predictable" random numbers...and anyone that disagrees must be in bed with the NSA. Of course, most of his rant was misguided and based on a misunderstanding of how the random number generator worked...

    But my point is that people are so afraid of the NSA tampering with things that anything that the NSA "might" have even remotely touched is suddenly a threat. This is bad. This is an indication that people are genuinely afraid of an institution that, after all, is meant to protect them.

    The US government need to take a very good look into this issue and solve it quickly.



    * I don't know the details, but rdrand seems to be a CPU instruction that new Intel CPUs have that allows for the generation of entropy (basically, random noise) by the CPU that can then be used to generate random numbers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Glen, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 9:56am

    Re:

    Bullshit!!!! They could have answered honestly in a closed door session if it was really needed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    CommonSense (profile), Sep 13th, 2013 @ 10:03am

    Re:

    If he wasn't a liar, he wouldn't be called one, ever. Not being able to give answers because the answer is classified above Top Secret is not a valid excuse to LIE. There's at least half a dozen respectable and ethical ways to handle that situation, that don't involve lying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re:

    Indeed. I am certain that he could've just said "I am not authorized to reveal that information in a public setting because it is classified and the rules forbid me. Let's set up a closed door briefing to discuss this."...or some such talk.

    But no. Instead, he chose to lie. His fault. He should get the axe.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Sep 13th, 2013 @ 10:08am

    Re:

    It takes an ootb to be able to withstand the dissonance between what he said when the shit started, what he says now and what he implies with some of his wording. The "unfortunately" part is strong with the force. I mean dissonance.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    blaktron (profile), Sep 13th, 2013 @ 10:09am

    How can you put a guy like this in jail? Every prosecutor, every judge he faced would be tarred and painted using their own communications to the point of a mistrial.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 10:09am

    Just like when a spouse gets caught in an infidelity...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Sep 13th, 2013 @ 10:11am

    If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and acts like a duck...

    The reason Mike and others keep calling Clapper a liar is because he is.

    Clapper wasn't forced into anything, he know beforehand exactly what was going to be asked, which meant he could have contacted Wyden to set up a private meeting rather than a public one so he could answer the questions off the record, or told Wyden that he wouldn't be able to answer that question publicly.

    Even if that wasn't an option, all he had to do was answer 'that's classified, but I can brief you on the details later', or refuse to answer, the fact that he instead went straight to a lie however suggests he never had any intention of telling the truth no matter what the setting, private or public.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Loki, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 10:15am

    It's not just the questionable actions themselves that cause distrust, it is the fact that we have thousands of years of history that tell us repeatedly how and where pretty much every government throughout time that begins engaging in these behaviors ultimately ended up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Simon, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 10:38am

    Hey Clapper!
    There is no debate, you are the naughty boy who did a load of naughty things and got caught.
    We are discussing all the naughty things you did (generally in horrified tones), not debating them and certainly not debating them with you.

    One does not debate with a guilty criminal.

    Everybody.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    OldGeezer (profile), Sep 13th, 2013 @ 10:50am

    What surprises me the most is James Clapper has not been thrown under the bus to give the public appearance that the NSA has rooted out the problem and they are going to play by the rules from now on. As a number of people in a position to know, only the tip of the iceberg has been exposed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 10:51am

    Re:

    Seriously, there are so many legit answers he could have given Congress. And he admitted that he lied.

    He's a lair and does not honor the position he holds. Or the country he works for.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Paul, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 10:53am

    You wrote: "It also raises the question of why he's still in a job (and not facing charges)".

    Here's my question: When are "We the People" going to start pushing our collective weight around to restore Justice, the Constitution and our personal Freedoms? Why isn't he (Clapper) charged, tried, convicted and in jail by now?? He lied to Congress and the world! Why are he and his lying cronies still running/ruining things.

    Historically speaking, it's time to "Break out the Guillotine". I for one won't be happy until I see some "Heads Starting To Roll"!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re:

    Yes, except the matter was raised at an unclassified public hearing where what Clapper could say was severely constrained.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 11:15am

    Re: Does not "needed to happen" imply was caused?

    ahhh! first I was conflicted on my believing what NSA said was true... and now I am conflicted that I almost agree with an OOTB comment.

    Mind blown twice in the course of one article... crazy days!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 11:47am

    Yes, except the matter was raised at an unclassified public hearing where what Clapper could say was severely constrained.


    Clapper knew going in, what questions would be asked. He had plenty of time to come up with answers or flat out say in the session he couldn't speak of it in a public hearing. Believe it not it's been done before by others.

    Clapper purposely chose to lie. It was a choice he chose at a place where he could have rectified it. He could have simply dodged the question as so many countless politicians do all the time or could have offered to answer the question in a more controlled environment.

    It's not just that Clapper lied here. It's that at every turn the whole group trying to justify the NSA's acts have either spoken without knowledge or purposely attempted to hide or misdirect understanding. At no point has anyone just come up and been honest with so much as 'We screwed up' where it is so blatant in violations that even the average citizen understands this is wrong. Trying to make right what is wrong isn't happening.

    Nor is this debate happening. Remember Obama saying he welcomed a debate? That was just to get him off the hook. That debate hasn't occurred. Same with Clapper, stating it's welcome and it actually happening in public are two different animals. Given his credibility gap, no one believes him.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: Re:

    If only dealing with classified matters was so easy. Unfortunately, it is difficult, if not impossible, to say virtually anything in response to a question without revealing an answer to at least some part of the question. Had Clapper given any other answer he would likely have been in breach of his obligation to preserve then classified information.

    Even Solomon, with all his wisdom, would have been hard pressed to forthrightly answer Wyden's question without disclosing some aspect of then classified information.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 11:56am

    Re:

    Wyden already knew what was going on, so his question was little more than political theater. Again, since Wyden already knew the answer, why did he not challenge Clapper's answer at the public hearing? It seems to me Wyden decided it was preferable to throw Clapper under the bus than for him to step in front of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 1:25pm

    in that case, why did it wait until Snowden forced the issue? why is he still being regarded as a traitor if all that he has done, apart from embarrass the overbearing, over reaching government and security forces, is bring a meeting into being that needed to happen anyway?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 1:37pm

    Irony, anyone?

    When I hear this:

    Journalists examining the surveillance programs that Snowden disclosed "go to the deepest darkest place they can and make the most conspiratorial case for what the intelligence community is doing."
    -- James Clapper, now

    I think of this:

    "These last two months have placed American intelligence in danger. The almost hysterical excitement surrounding any news story mentioning CIA or referring even to a perfectly legitimate activity of CIA has raised a question whether secret intelligence operations can be conducted by the United States."
    -- Ex-CIA Director William Colby, testifying before the Church committee

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 1:56pm

    Re:

    Fair question...why didn't Wyden or anyone else on the committee who knew the answer speak up? I happen to believe that Clapper was trying to stay within the bounds of his obligations re classified info, whereas at least Wyden was in a CYA mode.

    As for Snowden, I do not know if he is a hero, a traitor, or somewhere in between. Some of the information that has been coming out as of late does appear to jeopardize legitimate security interests by their becoming available to foreign entities.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 13th, 2013 @ 2:11pm

    Re:

    Repeatedly calling him a liar at every opportunity is wearing thin for any number of reasons, but perhaps the most important is that he was deliberately put in the position he was before the Senate committee when Wyden decided to set him up, knowing full well that the only answer Clapper could give at that public hearing could not be truthful.

    This is 100% false. It is easy enough to say to Wyden that a full answer on that would involve classified information and that the question could be answered in a classified briefing.

    Or, as Clapper has responded to other Wyden questions in the past, he could have easily said "As you know, Senator, the details of that are classified, as per the classified letter I sent your office on such-and-such a date. I would be happy to discuss further details in a closed session."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 13th, 2013 @ 2:12pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, except the matter was raised at an unclassified public hearing where what Clapper could say was severely constrained.

    He was not constrained from saying that a full and complete answer would contain classified information and that he'd be happy to go into details in a classified session. Or pointing to a classified briefing or letter already given.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 13th, 2013 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If only dealing with classified matters was so easy. Unfortunately, it is difficult, if not impossible, to say virtually anything in response to a question without revealing an answer to at least some part of the question. Had Clapper given any other answer he would likely have been in breach of his obligation to preserve then classified information.

    This is not true. You are wrong. It is not uncommon for intelligence officials testifying before Congress to say that a detailed answer would be classified and they could provide such in a classified letter or briefing. In fact, I've seen Clapper say just that to Wyden in multiple sessions.

    Even Solomon, with all his wisdom, would have been hard pressed to forthrightly answer Wyden's question without disclosing some aspect of then classified information.

    You are wrong. As described above.

    I honestly don't know why you always do this. You make a statement that is clearly wrong, you get called on it, and you just dig in and insist you're correct and that everyone else "doesn't understand." But you're wrong. You should admit you are wrong instead of acting like a child.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 13th, 2013 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Re:

    Again, since Wyden already knew the answer, why did he not challenge Clapper's answer at the public hearing

    Watch the hearing. He had used up his time. He even noted before the question that he had used up his time, and he followed up the hearing with a letter to ODNI about the answer.

    You'd know this if you knew what you were talking about and didn't insist on doubling down on your lie which has been proven false over and over again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 13th, 2013 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re:

    Fair question...why didn't Wyden or anyone else on the committee who knew the answer speak up?

    They did. You clearly have not been paying attention to what Wyden has been saying for *years* now.

    I happen to believe that Clapper was trying to stay within the bounds of his obligations re classified info

    That makes absolutely no sense. As as already been discussed there are much easier ways to do that without lying. He lied. He admitted he lied. Only you seem to still be pretending that he didn't have any other options.

    I wonder why.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 13th, 2013 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Saying "no comment" is always an option.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Wolfy, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 2:58pm

    Techdirt's efforts

    I don't know about the rest of your regular readers, but I for one, am damn glad you guys are staying glued to this story. The "powers that be" would dearly love for this to "go away" and be forgotten by the media and the public.

    Please stay on this one. It is the most important story you will likely ever cover.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Re:

    With all due respect (i.e., none) to Mr. Crapper, he was "just doing his job".

    That excuse worked in Nürnberg. Oh, wait.

    (Sorry for pseudo-Godwining)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 4:09pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    An interesting series of retorts. Mind you, though they are flat out wrong (which does not, of course, make you a liar), they interesting nevertheless.

    The following was a real hoot deserving of special mention:

    "As you know, Senator, the details of that are classified, as per the classified letter I sent your office on such-and-such a date. I would be happy to discuss further details in a closed session."

    Think about it a second. Given the question posed, is there anything in the answer you offer that communicates useful information to a third party? You are so focused on what is perceived to be NSA wrongdoing that you miss important issues associated with classified information. The question posed to Clapper could have involved a completely different, innocuous, clearly legal circumstance, and yet Clapper would have provided a similar response. In the world of classified information silence can be just as deafening as a raucous din.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 13th, 2013 @ 4:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    An interesting series of retorts. Mind you, though they are flat out wrong (which does not, of course, make you a liar), they interesting nevertheless.


    No. They're not wrong.

    Think about it a second. Given the question posed, is there anything in the answer you offer that communicates useful information to a third party?

    No. There is information that would suggest that the government may be collecting certain types of information, which would be of general interest, certainly, but would hardly reveal anything involving sources and methods, so would be unlikely to be an issue.

    And, again, Clapper DID give answers EXACTLY like the one I stated above in earlier responses.

    You are wrong. You should admit it. But, instead, you just keep digging deeper. You're pathological on this stuff. You do it EVERY time. You probably still think Bret Easton Ellis has no fans.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 5:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And, again, Clapper DID give answers EXACTLY like the one I stated above in earlier responses.

    IOW, Clapper was previously asked in a public meeting the same question and gave your proposed answer (or a reasonable substitute)? Perhaps you can provide a cite, but it seems to me more likely that Clapper was testifying about other matters and/or responding to different questions.

    Make no mistake. I am not defending the NSA's data collection practices. I am, however, challenging many of the simplistic notions for public testimony being bandied about by persons clearly having zero experience in the working world where classified information is an imperative. I am also challenging the fact that Wyden is being given a pass. Sorry, but "my time has run out" is no excuse for not forcefully responding to what those here deem to be a damnable lie. He knew the answer. He knew Clapper was not being forthright, and why. Yet, he was apparently content to leave matters as they were, with everyone other than those on the committee none the wiser, until someone with guts came forward and did that for which he lacked the requisite fortitude. Absent Snowden, it could fairly be said that Wyden aided and abetted a "lie" and is at least as culpable as Clapper.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 9:53pm

    If ... Maybe

    "If there's a good side to this, maybe that's it." (Clapper)

    "IF", "MAYBE" ... That there is a bona fide, 100%, complete denial of any wrong-doing and an absolute belief and attitude in himself and the NSA that they have done nothing wrong. In other words, he's really struggling to find any good in it all - that's very telling.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the NSA had daily staff meetings where they dismembered barbie dolls and cabbage patch kids, slaughtered cute bunnies, did some dwarf-tossing, danced around naked, shit fury and watched cats drown in it, and sat around making rude comments whilst watching videos of little girls finding dismembered Malibu Staceys and bursting into tears.

    I wouldn't bat an eyelid, because Clapper is clearly incapable of distinguishing right from wrong, moral from immoral, appropriate from inappropriate ... ad nauseum.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 13th, 2013 @ 10:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sorry, but "my time has run out" is no excuse for not forcefully responding to what those here deem to be a damnable lie. He knew the answer. He knew Clapper was not being forthright, and why. Yet, he was apparently content to leave matters as they were, with everyone other than those on the committee none the wiser, until someone with guts came forward and did that for which he lacked the requisite fortitude. Absent Snowden, it could fairly be said that Wyden aided and abetted a "lie" and is at least as culpable as Clapper.

    I just want to highlight that and repeat for people to marvel at the insanity and utter wrongness you spew after being proven wrong already. You are all ready to claim that Clapper had to flat out lie (which is false) to answer Wyden's question, but in the very same breath claim that it's crazy that Wyden himself didn't reveal the classified info that you insist Clapper couldn't even indicate he'd answer in a classified manner? Holy shit, you're insane.

    You claim I don't know what I'm talking about and then spew *that* bit of pure nonsense? I know better than you'll ever know the lengths and efforts that Senator Wyden has gone through to expose these programs.

    You do not know what you are talking about and confirm it each time you try to dig in on this point on which you are 100% wrong. You may remember the descriptive phrase I have used towards you in the past. Why you seek to reinforce that at ever interaction I do not know, but it is, most certainly, true yet again here.

    You are almost always explicitly and provably wrong, and yet you can never admit it. It's stunning.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Robert, Sep 13th, 2013 @ 11:49pm

    Re:

    I'll bet that even worse is yet to be exposed, which is the only reason they are starting to admit mea culpa. That and of course they are throwing themselves on the own swords to protect others who have had access to the information and what they have done with it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2013 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The above comments take me to task for even suggesting that Clapper faced a dilemma when Wyden asked his question during a public hearing last Spring. Unhesitatingly you and others provide examples of how Clapper should have responded at the public hearing. You see no dilemma faced by Clapper, and you see no possibility of relevant classified information being disclosed by what you consider to be the only proper response.

    A few days ago you recommend several individuals for membership on an independent board tasked with investigating the NSA's collection activities, one of whom was Orin Kerr.

    It may come as a surprise that Orin does not share your certainty about the testimonial choices facing Clapper. He states:

    "DNI James Clapper has apologized for his “clearly erroneous” testimony before Congress about NSA surveillance. The underlying question is a tricky one, though: How can you have public testimony about classified activities? Senator Wyden had been briefed about the NSA program, and he knew the answer to the question. So he intentionally asked Clapper the question to pressure Clapper to disclose the classified program. Clapper had three choices: Disclose the classified program, give “clearly erroneous” testimony, or clam up and say that he couldn’t answer (effectively saying “yes”). The only way to avoid being placed in that dilemma was not to testify at all. No good options there, at least if you accept that we want open testimony, that witnesses should tell the truth, and that classified programs should stay classified.

    Of course you can cherry pick what Orin stated, but it cannot be denied that its basic thrust is in consonance with my observations. Clapper could have said "Why yes, we collect damn near every electromagnetic signal throughout the universe" (not really a choice since it would have disclosed the existence of a highly classified program), said "Sorry Senator Wyden, but no can do here" (a tacit admission that there is a classified program in existence), said "Nope" (not truthful, but then again not conveying any classified information to persons not having the requisite security clearance or not having a need to know", or he could have simply told the committee "Sorry, but I cannot attend because of a scheduling conflict".

    As I have been trying to point out, Clapper was deliberately placed in a position by Wyden which Wyden well knew would be untenable if Clapper was to preserve classified information. My pushback with regard to Wyden is that he could just as easily have challenged at that hearing Clapper's response. Instead he chose to remain silent at the hearing and subsequently. Is there any doubt he would have remained silent but for Snowden appearing on the scene? Sorry, but in my opinion Wyden should be viewed with the same offensiveness many direct at Clapper.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2013 @ 7:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yet another example, among many, of an opinion that all is not as black and white as many here seem inclined to believe is available at:

    http://www.aei-ideas.org/2013/06/blame-wyden-not-clapper-for-lie-to-congress-on-nsa-surveilla nce/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 14th, 2013 @ 9:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As I have been trying to point out, Clapper was deliberately placed in a position by Wyden which Wyden well knew would be untenable if Clapper was to preserve classified information.

    Bullshit. Look this is simple: you're wrong. You're completely 100% wrong. While the details of the program may be classified it is NOT classified to say whether or not American's are having their data collected.

    Clapper was at no risk of revealing classified information.

    Look, you could be a big boy and admit you were wrong, but you won't because you have a real mental block. You are almost always wrong and we call you on it and you double down.

    Clapper himself has admitted that he was in error and should not have answered the way he did. You're a bigger fool than I thought to continue to insist that this is somehow Wyden's fault. You remain, totally, and completely full of it.

    Just admit you're wrong. Bet you can't.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 14th, 2013 @ 9:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You see no dilemma faced by Clapper, and you see no possibility of relevant classified information being disclosed by what you consider to be the only proper response.

    There was no dilemma. Period. None. Clapper had the question the day before. He was not suddenly put on the spot. He could have -- as he has in other situations -- clearly stated that the full answer was classified. And, as stated above, he could have answered honestly the extent to which data on Americans is captured. A simple yes does not reveal any classified information.

    You are wrong and you are full of it, and you can't let go. You are incredible. But you are still wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 14th, 2013 @ 9:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yet another example, among many, of an opinion that all is not as black and white as many here seem inclined to believe is available at:

    Quoting Marc Thiessen on anything proves you're a complete buffoon. That may be the dumbest argument ever. Seriously: if you're at the point where you're quoting him, you've already proven that you are an idiot who has no business talking about this subject. You're wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2013 @ 12:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    People express opinions with which you disagree, and your response is to proclaim them wrong and uninformed, resort to degrading comments, and then assert your unshakeable belief in the correctness of your opinions.

    When someone proffers verifiable information that does not comport with your opinions, the information is in far too many instances cast aside and given nary a thought.

    Orin notes that things are not as clear as you would have others believe, and yet you continue to proclaim anyone who mentions this lack of clarity is simply wrong. Apparently, I and Orin simply lack the ability to recognize the rightness of your opinion and the wrongness of ours.

    Marc makes the same general observations, and yet you readily dismiss him as well because for some unknown reason his being the messenger is more important a factor than his message. Given your reaction to him, I am glad I passed up adding comments by Stewart Baker.

    Based upon your series of comments, my take away from this thread is that you are right and those of us who hold a more nuanced opinion are wrong. Those of us who regularly deal with classified information are apparently not up to the task of determining when a statement is likely problematic and when it is not. On a more personal note, I have come to learn that I am childish, buffoonish, pathological, insane, an idiot, possess a mental block, and a host of other pejorative terms. Perhaps they make you feel good and look "tough" to your readers, but they do nothing to address the merits of an opinion that may contradict yours.

    I find nothing short of sad your obvious inclination to surround yourself with people with whom you agree, and eschew similar intimate and respectful engagement with people with whom you disagree. I say sad because it represents a missed opportunity. In my case it is fair to say that I learn far more from the arguments of those with whom I disagree than from those with whom I agree. The latter merely restate what I already know. The former challenge me to understand what they have to say and to incorporate new thoughts and ideas into my knowledge base.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2013 @ 4:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Anonymous Coward just hates it when due process is enforced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 15th, 2013 @ 7:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    These series of comments have nothing to do with due process. Perhaps you meant to post elsewhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 15th, 2013 @ 9:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    People express opinions with which you disagree, and your response is to proclaim them wrong and uninformed, resort to degrading comments, and then assert your unshakeable belief in the correctness of your opinions.

    This is untrue. There are plenty of people who I disagree with who I will have a nice discussion with. That is not the case with you, because it's not that I disagree with you, it's that you are obnoxious, pedantic, typically entirely sure of yourself despite being almost entirely wrong, and absolutely unable to admit that you are wrong.

    Shall I ask yet again when you'll admit that you were full of shit over Brett Easton Ellis not having any fans?

    It's a pattern you show regularly. You step in, say something absolutely stupid, wrong and condescending in the same breath -- usually insinuating that only someone of your unique stature could possibly comprehend the nuances. And then everyone proves that you're full of shit.

    And rather than admit it, you double down. You did that here. You were proven wrong, and you kept at it. Eventually it reaches the point where it becomes obvious that you are so clueless, so unable to comprehend basic concepts, that the only possible response is just to call you out for being totally full of it.

    So. Yeah, we've reached that level again.

    Many people here have pointed out why you are wrong. Wyden did nothing wrong. He asked a question and he was lied to, in a Congressional hearing, which is a felony. Clapper had multiple ways to answer the question without revealing any classified information. You are simply, totally, wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2013 @ 12:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Perhaps you meant to be an idiot elsewhere, too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2013 @ 10:24am

    The ability to simultaneously entertain two completely irreconcilable thoughts and recognize the merits of each is a useful skill. Perhaps someday it is a skill you will acquire.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 16th, 2013 @ 10:33am

    Re:

    The ability to simultaneously entertain two completely irreconcilable thoughts and recognize the merits of each is a useful skill. Perhaps someday it is a skill you will acquire.

    This is hilarious coming from you. Considering what a complete joke you've been shown to be in these comments, I'll accept that as an admission that you know you're wrong, but rather than admit it, you'll resort to snarky insults.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2013 @ 6:41pm

    Re:

    It bears repeating.

    Anonymous Coward just hates it when due process is enforced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2013 @ 9:24pm

    Re: Re:

    I will admit being wrong about you. At first I thought you tried your best to study conflicting views and play the role of an honest broker. With the passage time it has become only too clear that this site is devolving in several subject matter areas into a purveyor of biased and misleading reporting.

    Quite some time ago an article struck me as interesting, provocative, and worthy of mentioning in a legal forum. The response was underwhelming, with perhaps the most critical comment being that the site gives meaning to the word "dick" in "dickhead". At the time I did not understand why the mentioning this site engendered such a negative reaction. History has given me a greater perspective and understanding.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2013 @ 9:26pm

    Re: Re:

    I must admit I have nary a clue what is meant by the repetitious use of "due process".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 16th, 2013 @ 11:16pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I will admit being wrong about you. At first I thought you tried your best to study conflicting views and play the role of an honest broker. With the passage time it has become only too clear that this site is devolving in several subject matter areas into a purveyor of biased and misleading reporting.

    No. We do try to study conflicting views and try to determine what is most accurate. And part of that is calling out complete bullshit when we see it. And you tend to shovel an awful lot of it.

    Again, you have failed to provide a single substantive response to nearly everyone above pointing out that you are wrong and that there were many ways for Clapper to respond to this question without lying and without revealing classified information. Yet you continue to insult those of us who proved you wrong.

    Try again.

    And, while you're at it, we're still waiting for you admission that you were wrong about Bret Easton Ellis.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2013 @ 8:38am

    Bret Easton Ellis - Your are remarkably consistent about this matter from the past, but continue carrying forward a misstatement of what I actually said. I used the term "doubtful", which is certainly not the same as "not a snowball's chance"

    I am pleased he and his partner met their Kickstarter goal with a 159% subscription, got Lindsay Lohan to play a role (presumably in between visits to rehab...this is a joke directed to LL, and not the persons honchoing the movie), got the movie released in short order, but unfortunately did not meet with financial success and positive acclaim. Not making the list for Sundance and some other of the larger indie film festivals did not, of course, help. The same can be said of non-stellar reviews by movie critics.

    Now, it you took the time to really read my comment you would have noted it opined about the importance of a producer in film projects. Many years ago I had not a clue what a producer actually does. After my daughter did a stint with one of the most successful producers on Broadway, and after I was able to explore in detail with her (the producer) what precisely a producer brings to the table, I had an entirely newly found appreciation of how stage plays, movies, and other aspects of the performing arts move from paper to the stage, big screen, etc. They move forward almost exactly like products in the tech and other business sectors.

    Now, perhaps a truly experienced producer may have turned the tide, or perhaps it would have flopped notwithstanding who the producer was, experience in other fields informs me that a producer, the one who handles the business (as opposed to the artistic) side of the house and is basically the CEO and COO of a production, is a critical position, and in proceeding without one one does so at his peril if it is a role in which they lack significant experience.

    I would like to think my comment here may finally lay this matter to rest with you. If questions still remain you should feel not the slightest reluctance to ask any questions you deem pertinent.

    With kindest regards I remain...

    Sincerely yours,

    AC

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 17th, 2013 @ 9:45am

    Re:

    You made two statements, both of which were easily proven false. First that it was "doubtful" that Bret Easton Ellis had fans. This is wrong. It was easily checked and you failed to do so. When called on it, you continued to focus on the word "doubtful" as if that gave you an out. It did not. It was not "doubtful" that Ellis has a large fanbase. He does.

    Second, you claimed that they did not have a producer or someone with producing experience. This was also wrong, as the team had significant producing experience. And you should learn how Broadway producing and movie producing are quite different. They are. But that's a tangent. You also implied that I didn't know anything about producing movies, despite my cousin (who I speak to regularly) being the executive producer of one of Hollywood's biggest grossing films this year (and with some of his previous films).

    And while its great that your daughter did some work as a producer so you once got to speak to one, I talk to film producers all the time -- despite your false implication that I was unfamiliar with how movies are made.

    Anyway, all this proves, yet again, that you cannot admit when you are wrong, but instead dig in. You were wrong about that and you're wrong here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2013 @ 12:22pm

    Never mind...while correlation is not causation, the reception of the film in the marketplace appears to under cut your "large fan base" mantra. It cost $250K to make, $159K was raised via Kickstarter, it was not selected for exhibition at the better known film festivals, it had an anemic reception in theaters as shown by receipts (guess that fan base did not turn out), and most film critics and fan reviews were not exactly complimentary (a real splat fest at Rotten Tomatoes).

    BTW, I am surprised you would take issue with someone noting that a good producer (I do not recall anything in the article suggesting one was already on board) would be helpful if you are, as you suggest, knowledgeable about the role of a producer.

    This latest turn in the thread is interesting and all, but it does digress from the original article and comments by me and others that things are not so black and white as some proclaim concerning Clapper's testimony. Was he untruthful? Of course he was. Heck, anyone who watched him testifying could see that in an instant. The point being made, however, was not that he lied, but that he was placed in an untenable position by one who already knew the answer, knew the likely outcome from asking the question because of classified information obligations imposed upon Clapper, and yet asked the question anyway. I happen to be just one of many who have opined that Clapper should not be the only one criticized in this matter. Wyden is not exactly pristine in his conduct.

    Nuff' said. Time for me to move on to other matters.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 17th, 2013 @ 12:34pm

    Re:

    Having a large fan base does not stop one from making a bad movie. Doesn't matter how large your fan base is if you make a shit product. That doesn't take away from my point at all.

    Still, the whole point of this tangent was to prove, yet again, that you appear to be mentally incapable of admitting you were wrong. Incredible.

    And to close it out by repeating the proven falsehood that Clapper was in an "untenable position"? Wow. He wasn't. As explained in detail above, there were multiple ways to answer that question without lying and without revealing classified information. You're in complete denial if you believe otherwise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2013 @ 2:42pm

    Clapper was in an untenable position, as you might appreciate if you ever held a classified information clearance. Imagine at a public hearing a question such as "Is your agency doing anything involving splitting or fusing atoms?" being posed to Leslie Groves. An absolutely extreme hypo to be sure, but it is worthwhile to reflect on it.

    BTW, patents and copyrights are without the slightest doubt property, but then you already know that...;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 17th, 2013 @ 2:51pm

    Re:

    Clapper was in an untenable position, as you might appreciate if you ever held a classified information clearance.

    Oh fuck off. Whether or not I've had clearance is meaningless for this discussion. It's an obnoxious pedantic statement -- similar to others you state -- as an appeal to authority when none is needed. Plenty of people who have had security clearance agree with me as well. So, seriously, give it a rest.

    Imagine at a public hearing a question such as "Is your agency doing anything involving splitting or fusing atoms?" being posed to Leslie Groves. An absolutely extreme hypo to be sure, but it is worthwhile to reflect on it.

    Sure, except that's a totally different situation. The splitting of atoms was, in fact, classified. Whether or not the NSA is spying on Americans is NOT. Yes, the specific program being used is, but the fact that millions of Americans have some data captured by the NSA is NOT CLASSIFIED. But, even given your stupid hypo, Groves could state, quite easily: "We do not discuss tactics used in unclassified hearings, as you know, and we'd be happy to discuss your questions in a classified session." That does not reveal anything.

    Clapper could have done so, as he's done in the past.

    You're wrong. As explained to you a dozen times above. Get over it. You're WRONG.

    BTW, patents and copyrights are without the slightest doubt property, but then you already know that...;)


    Uh yeah. Whatever, dude.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2013 @ 5:02pm

    Tell you what. Send your "he should have said this" quote to Orin Kerr, and then ask Orin for his opinion. Of course, in lieu of this you could simply read his article over at Eugene Volokh's site. It can be found at:

    http://www.volokh.com/2013/07/05/public-testimony-about-classified-activities-a-thought-on-th e-clapper-dilemma/

    Clapper was placed in a very difficult position, Wyden did it deliberately for reasons known only to him, and his "but I sent him a copy the day before and gave him the chance afterwards" is self-serving and disingenuous.

    My point is and always has been that those who demean Clapper may very well not appreciate the position in which he was placed by Wyden. BTW, it does matter that you have never held a security clearance in the sense that it would give you much more insight into why Clapper reacted as he did.

    As for what Groves might have said in response to the hypo, I can assure you that his answer would have been a firm, confident, and resounding "No!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 17th, 2013 @ 5:23pm

    Re:

    Yes, we know you found ONE person who also is wrong. You already pointed that out. Now, if you could consider that Kerr might also be incorrect in his statement. But you won't do that, because you refuse to admit you are wrong.

    I'll note that throughout all of this, you have NOT ONCE explained why everyone who has shown how Clapper could have easily responded were wrong. And that's because you can't. Because we are right about this and you are wrong.

    Clapper was not placed in a difficult position. Even he eventually admitted this. He was asked a question and there were multiple ways he could have answered it and he chose to lie, committing a felony.

    My point is and always has been that those who demean Clapper may very well not appreciate the position in which he was placed by Wyden

    Bullshit. Everyone here has already discussed that and shown why that's not true and you're wrong. You just can't admit it.

    As for what Groves might have said in response to the hypo, I can assure you that his answer would have been a firm, confident, and resounding "No!"

    And, thus, he would have been a liar. That doesn't help your case. In fact, it makes you look even worse.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2013 @ 9:55pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You having nary a clue is really not a surprise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2013 @ 6:44am

    Re: Re:

    Kerr was cited as an example among many. Another individual was also cited as an example, but he was summarily dismissed because of who he is and not what he had to say. To say I found "one" is not accurate at all. Moreover, I mentioned Orin's comments precisely because just days earlier you had spoken well of him as knowledgeable in this area, going so far as to suggest his being a member of an independent panel to review NDA activities. I have no reason the believe you have changed your mind regarding Orin, so it seems rather strange you would dismiss his comments concerning the choices presented to Clapper.

    Yes, you provided a possible response, and both my comments and those by Kerr pointed out why such a response would be problematic. Why this would be so would be more apparent to persons such as yourself if you worked in an environment requiring access to classified information, and especially very high level classified information.

    The Groves hypo was solely for the purpose of trying to convey an extreme situation where it would be hard to deny that an answer along the lines of what you insist Clapper should have given would have been problematic. No reasonable person should doubt that such an answer would have conveyed useful information to select third parties. Yet, you have chosen to double down once more that you are right and those who may hold different views, articulating why your approach presents problems in and of itself, are simply unable to recognize your rightness from their wrongness.

    Turning to Wyden, he already knew the answer...as did everyone else on the Senate committee. It has been reported by many sources that the question had been asked and answered in classified briefings. What he did was try and force the movement of classified information into the public eye. While I do not view it as such, there are several who have publicly opined on this matter who advocate that Wyden's actions here were an open invitation for others having knowledge of the information at issue to ignore their obligations and disclose such information publicly.

    I will not waste any more time trying secure at least a grudging acceptance that perhaps things are not so black and white as then may seem. It is clear that your suspicion of the NSA and other agencies who have been engaging is the types of activities about which you are writing simply will not admit to any such possibility. I can accept that in some situations your proposal may be non-problematic, but to elevate it to a universal rule devoid of nuance and potential problems is somewhat naïve.

    More succinctly, this is one matter on which we will have to agree to disagree.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2013 @ 6:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Your not providing any information shedding light on what you are are trying to say is perplexing. It is a simple question asked in all sincerity in an effort to understand what underlies your comment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 19th, 2013 @ 12:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Kerr was cited as an example among many. Another individual was also cited as an example, but he was summarily dismissed because of who he is and not what he had to say. To say I found "one" is not accurate at all. Moreover, I mentioned Orin's comments precisely because just days earlier you had spoken well of him as knowledgeable in this area, going so far as to suggest his being a member of an independent panel to review NDA activities. I have no reason the believe you have changed your mind regarding Orin, so it seems rather strange you would dismiss his comments concerning the choices presented to Clapper.

    As I noted in my post that mentioned Kerr, I often disagreed with him, and find him too willing to support the surveillance state. But I thought he'd be a valuable voice on the panel. I had no idea you think that I should only name people I need to agree with 100%.

    I think Kerr is wrong on this one. I disagree with him fairly frequently, but unlike you, I find that he can have an honest and thoughtful discussion when there's disagreement.

    Also, unlike you, he's shown that his arguments come from a position of deep thought, not kneejerk cluelessness.

    Yes, you provided a possible response, and both my comments and those by Kerr pointed out why such a response would be problematic.

    No, they didn't. They falsely claimed that suggesting that a full answer would be in classified sessions would somehow reveal classified information. This is simply incorrect. It would not. Senator Wyden was quite clear with his question that it in no way was asking to reveal any classified programs. Instead, it was asking for unclassified information: whether or not information was being collected on Americans. That is not classified. The specifics of the program (what's being collected, how, how long it's stored, where it comes from, etc.) may all be collected. But whether or not the NSA is spying on Americans? Uh, no, that's not classified.

    Why this would be so would be more apparent to persons such as yourself if you worked in an environment requiring access to classified information, and especially very high level classified information.

    I've discussed this directly with multiple people who have or have had high level classifications. Just today I had lunch with a former CIA agent and he found your argument "insane" and "remedial."

    I know, I know, from our debates in the past on issues related to IP, that you like to think that I don't actually know anyone in these spaces and that I do not confer with experts in the field. You're wrong. Again.

    The Groves hypo was solely for the purpose of trying to convey an extreme situation where it would be hard to deny that an answer along the lines of what you insist Clapper should have given would have been problematic.

    No, it was a stupid hypo that (1) was not analogous and (2) again could have been answered truthfully without revealing any classified information. That you believe otherwise suggests a significant mental block.

    No reasonable person should doubt that such an answer would have conveyed useful information to select third parties.

    Uh, no. You're wrong. Merely saying "We do not discuss our capabilities or plans in unclassified settings" does not reveal a damn thing. It's the same answer that he should give for any question related to weapons capabilities, and because it could be asked of the nuclear bomb or alien-technology laser rays from space, it would not reveal anything.

    It is only in retrospect that you think it reveals something because you now know that such a program did, in fact, exist.

    Furthermore, we know that Clapper can answer similar questions in similar settings, as he did in the past: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110728/02210915297/intelligence-chief-to-wyden-it-would-be-diffic ult-to-reveal-what-you-want-us-to-reveal-because-we-dont-want-to-reveal-it.shtml

    Note that in response to a similar question, he points Wyden to a set of classified reports. Later, in response to a question about FAA abuses, he also points to classified report. And no one flipped out and claimed he revealed anything. In fact, quite the opposite.

    Turning to Wyden, he already knew the answer...as did everyone else on the Senate committee. It has been reported by many sources that the question had been asked and answered in classified briefings. What he did was try and force the movement of classified information into the public eye.

    Again, this is false. What he sought was clearly NOT CLASSIFIED information. And, if the answer touched on classified info there are ways -- as Clapper had shown Wyden in previous communications -- to answer those questions by saying details are classified, without revealing anything sensitive.

    Let's get this straight: you are wrong. There are many ways to answer these sorts of questions without revealing classified information. Clapper chose not to do so. He lied to Congress, which is against the law.

    Therefore it is entirely reasonable for me to call out the fact that he is a liar.

    You are wrong. You should admit it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This