Seven House Judiciary Members Demand DOJ Investigate James Clapper For Lying To Congress

from the now-we're-getting-somewhere dept

Since the Snowden revelations first started coming out, forcing James Clapper to admit that he flat-out lied to Congress, we've been somewhat perplexed as to how Clapper could come out of the whole thing "unscathed." Congress seemed willing to look the other way, and the President didn't appear to have any interest in firing Clapper or Keith Alexander, so as not to "let Snowden win." But, it's never made much sense. Lying to Congress is a pretty serious crime -- and considering the lying was to cover up a program that just this week was found to be unconstitutional, it seems even more serious. The fact that anyone in Congress thinks that Clapper can even be remotely trusted to tell the truth going forward when he got away with lying, seems bizarre.

Hopefully that will be changing now.

Back in October, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the author of the PATRIOT Act, argued that Clapper should be fired and prosecuted, but hadn't done anything to move that forward. However, with Monday's ruling now making it pretty clear that the program that Clapper lied about (in response to a question from Senator Ron Wyden), Sensenbrenner, along with six of his colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee have sent a letter to Eric Holder, demanding an investigation into Clapper's lying to Congress. The letter is quite a read. They're pretty direct about calling out Clapper for lying, how this is against the law, how others in government have been prosecuted for the same thing, and even how allowing this to go unpunished contributes to "cynicism" about the government.
Congressional oversight depends on truthful testimony--witnesses cannot be allowed to lie to Congress. Accordingly, we request you to investigate the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's "erroneous" statements to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence earlier this year.

[....] 18 U.S.C. § 1001 makes it a crime to "knowingly and willfully" make any "materially false" statement in the course of any "investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee." One of the hallmarks of American democracy is that no one is above the law...

[....] Director Clapper has served his country with distinction, and we have no doubt he believed he was acting in its best interest. Nevertheless, the law is clear. He was asked a question and he was obligated to answer truthfully. He could have declined to answer. He could have offered to answer in a classified setting. He could have corrected himself immediately following the hearing. He did none of these things despite advance warning that the question was coming.

The country's interests are best served when its leaders deal truthfully with its citizens. The mutual sense of good faith it fosters permits compromise and concessions in those cases that warrant it. Director Clapper's willful lie under oath fuels the unhealthy cynicism and distrust that citizens feel toward their government and undermines Congress's ability to perform its Constitutional function.

There are differences of opinion about the propriety of the NSA's data collection programs. There can be no disagreement, however, on the basic premise that congressional witnesses must answer truthfully.
It seems unlikely that Holder will do anything, but this is the first official move we've seen towards actually punishing Clapper for lying to Congress. It would be nice if others in Congress supported this effort as well.


Reader Comments (rss)

 
The ODNI is already heading this off:

RE: INVESTIGATION OF CLAPPER FOR ALLEGED DISCHARGE OF UNTRUTH

The Office would like to direct the esteemed members of the House Judiciary Committee to the following Fact Sheet, which should clarify the many misconceptions surrounding James Clapper's supposed misrepresentation of his own words.

1. The NSA, along with the ODNI, has always self-reported all potential mistruths. Even when we don't.

2. Clapper answer was not untruthful under this program.

3. Director Clapper's answer was NOT a lie. It was simply a matter of the director "playing to the edges" of the "truth matrix."

4. If Clapper had answered truthfully, up to 54 terrorist investigations would have been compromised.

5. Contrary to what everyone's saying (including the esteemed members of the HJC), Clapper at no time had access to the content of Ron Wyden's phone calls.

6. Everybody lies to everybody. And once again, at no time did the NSA, nor Clapper himself, collect the content of any French metadata.

7. Clapper's truth-dodging has been held to be legal under current law. Not only that, but his slippery wording is subject to several layers of oversight, both inside the DNI's office and inside the DNI's panic room.

8. For all we know, Snowden has millions of sensitive documents and hates America. Therefore, you must acquit.

9. If anyone can suggest a better way to fight terrorism than Clapper lying to Congress, we'd be more than happy to discuss those ideas.

10. Once again, James Clapper is only lying, not collecting sensitive content from domestic end-to-end calls. Do we really have to keep stressing this point?

10.(a) Also not collecting domestic email content (since 2011!).

11. Clapper's desire to lie to Congress is no different than the average American's desire to lie to Congress. Our intelligence officials have the same concerns about privacy the rest of you little people do, only we can actually do something to protect ours.

Oh. And Clapper probably didn't actually lie.

We hope these Guidance Points will help you arrive at the correct conclusion pursuant to your investigation that we won't be assisting with one bit.

Sincerely,
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
—Capitalist Lion Tamer

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Arsik Vek (profile), Dec 19th, 2013 @ 1:19pm

    I'm sure Holder appreciates the good chuckle he got from this letter.

     

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    MondoGordo (profile), Dec 19th, 2013 @ 2:04pm

    Re:

    That is very cynical of you. Probably accurate but cynical! :)

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 2:12pm

    At this point, the public has a very low opinion of congress as well as the political leadership of this country. Polls across the nation reflect this lack of trust.

    I suspect no one really wants to go after Clapper because of the old 'rocks and glass houses' thing. Once started, who knows where it will end.

    It will take exactly these sort of actions to restore the public's trust in government. At this point I have little faith in that happening.

    We have the finest laws money can buy and legalized corruption through political campaign financing.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 2:13pm

    "He could have declined to answer. He could have offered to answer in a classified setting."

    These two options should not exist. The tax paying public has a right to government transparency and truthfulness. Anything less should result in this official being replaced.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 2:18pm

    I think a quick google of "Holder testimony" will show why this will go nowhere. You really think he wants to encourage prosecution of those who gave less than truthful statements to Congress?

    But good for Sensenbrenner and the rest for bringing this up. There can be no meaningful oversight by Congress if they are merely lied to.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 2:22pm

    It's very simple

    The Clapper has read all the documents pertaining to Eric Holder, as well as all the juicy bits regarding all the others to whom he would otherwise directly answer to. I'm not saying he would flat out blackmail anybody - but they all know that he could - if he really wanted to play that card is some covert way.

     

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    faceinthecrowd (profile), Dec 19th, 2013 @ 2:24pm

    Politicians not holding politicians accountable...and who is shocked?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 2:33pm

    That's cool that we have some politicians acting as they should, the problem is people that have more power then them aren't going to do shit.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 2:41pm

    Re:

    I suspect no one really wants to go after Clapper because of the old 'rocks and glass houses' thing. Once started, who knows where it will end.

    A healthy democracy?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 2:42pm

    Maybe if he doesn't respond to the letter, they'll hold him in Contempt of Congress. Again.

    Is there a record? Will he be the [Record] Holder?

     

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  11.  
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    Internet Zen Master (profile), Dec 19th, 2013 @ 2:42pm

    Re:

    No, those two options should most definitely exist.

    Believe it or not, as much as the government has exhausted the credibility of the phrase "national security", there may actually be occasions where telling Congress classified info in a public hearing would actually be damaging to the country's national security (since the hearings would be public and terrorists probably read the news like everyone else).

    Loose Lips do Sink Ships.

    The problem is the government seems to want to define EVERYTHING as a sinkable ship these days, no matter how harmless the information actually is.

     

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  12.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Dec 19th, 2013 @ 2:44pm

    The ODNI is already heading this off:

    RE: INVESTIGATION OF CLAPPER FOR ALLEGED DISCHARGE OF UNTRUTH

    The Office would like to direct the esteemed members of the House Judiciary Committee to the following Fact Sheet, which should clarify the many misconceptions surrounding James Clapper's supposed misrepresentation of his own words.

    1. The NSA, along with the ODNI, has always self-reported all potential mistruths. Even when we don't.

    2. Clapper answer was not untruthful under this program.

    3. Director Clapper's answer was NOT a lie. It was simply a matter of the director "playing to the edges" of the "truth matrix."

    4. If Clapper had answered truthfully, up to 54 terrorist investigations would have been compromised.

    5. Contrary to what everyone's saying (including the esteemed members of the HJC), Clapper at no time had access to the content of Ron Wyden's phone calls.

    6. Everybody lies to everybody. And once again, at no time did the NSA, nor Clapper himself, collect the content of any French metadata.

    7. Clapper's truth-dodging has been held to be legal under current law. Not only that, but his slippery wording is subject to several layers of oversight, both inside the DNI's office and inside the DNI's panic room.

    8. For all we know, Snowden has millions of sensitive documents and hates America. Therefore, you must acquit.

    9. If anyone can suggest a better way to fight terrorism than Clapper lying to Congress, we'd be more than happy to discuss those ideas.

    10. Once again, James Clapper is only lying, not collecting sensitive content from domestic end-to-end calls. Do we really have to keep stressing this point?

    10.(a) Also not collecting domestic email content (since 2011!).

    11. Clapper's desire to lie to Congress is no different than the average American's desire to lie to Congress. Our intelligence officials have the same concerns about privacy the rest of you little people do, only we can actually do something to protect ours.

    Oh. And Clapper probably didn't actually lie.

    We hope these Guidance Points will help you arrive at the correct conclusion pursuant to your investigation that we won't be assisting with one bit.

    Sincerely,
    Office of the Director of National Intelligence

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 2:47pm

    Holder is even more of a lying scum than Clapper is. So he'll probably do nothing about it, because he "gets it" why he lied, or some nonsense excuse like that, like when told us why he's not going after the bankers.

     

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    DCL, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 2:52pm

    What if we....

    we catch him with some glitter... could we charge him with terrorism?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 3:15pm

    It is virtually impossible to lie (intentionally attempt to mislead) a group of people who already know the correct answer to a question.

    Clapper did the only thing he could do in response to the question consistent with maintaining classified information in confidence. Wyden already knew the answer because he held a security clearance enabling him to learn the answer in the course of briefings to him and other similarly cleared persons.

    The letter is nice political "theater", and nothing more.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 3:28pm

    Re:

    The question, as presented, could have been answered truthfully.

    And how can you have meaningful oversight if he can't tell the rest of Congress about their abuses?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 3:31pm

    Re:

    No, he could say "I can only answer this question in a classified setting."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 3:38pm

    I cant put whatever it is i damn please in my body, but i can lie to congress

    Im getting conflicting reports here *proverbial weighing of the scales*?.....so do i follow the law, or dont !???????

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Dec 19th, 2013 @ 3:38pm

    You missed a few words

    '...maintaining classified information on an unconstitutional program'

    Now you might say, 'at the time the program wasn't considered unconstitutional', and while technically true, that would only be because those running it always lied when asked about what the program(s) involved.

    It was only when independent, outside investigation of the program was conducted(thanks to Snowden's actions) that the program was able to be challenged, something that would be impossible if people just had to take the word of liars like that at face value.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 3:41pm

    He was asked a question and he was obligated to answer truthfully. He could have declined to answer. He could have offered to answer in a classified setting.á"

    NO THEY BLOODY WELL CANT

    No more fucking secrets

     

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    Me, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 3:43pm

    And if Holder declines to prosecute, hold HIS feet to the fire, along with the other attorneys in the administration like Solicitor General Verrilli who have failed in their legal obligations. They all should be ashamed of turning their backs on the Constitution. These scumbags are going to be looked upon with disdain in 50 years the same way we look at McCarthyism.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 3:47pm

    Nos. 16, 17 and others holding similar views,

    Yes, he could have said all of that and more, but to fully understand what was before Clapper one would do well to reflect upon what each of the answers advocated here would/could have communicated to persons who could not care less about US national security.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 4:41pm

    Easy fix. Have congress pass a bill for a 25 percent cut to NSA payroll for all. Wait for the next lye.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Dec 19th, 2013 @ 5:12pm

    Re:

    It's missing the Chewbacca defense, but other than that I could totally see them trying something like that.

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Dec 19th, 2013 @ 5:18pm

    Re:

    I cant put whatever it is i damn please in my body, but i can lie to congress

    Dude, based on your comments, maybe you really need to cut back on whatever it is you are putting into your body.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 19th, 2013 @ 5:20pm

    Re:

    It is virtually impossible to lie (intentionally attempt to mislead) a group of people who already know the correct answer to a question.

    That is not true. Same thing as a lie. Telling a lie is simply stating something that is untrue. So, yes, you can lie to people even if they know it's a lie. You, for example, are lying. You have said something that is blatantly untrue, making you a liar.

    Clapper did the only thing he could do in response to the question consistent with maintaining classified information in confidence. Wyden already knew the answer because he held a security clearance enabling him to learn the answer in the course of briefings to him and other similarly cleared persons.

    This has been explained to you multiple times, and your insistence on repeating this lie increasingly makes you look desperate to stand up for the surveillance state, who paid your salary for so many years. As Sensenbrenner rightly noted, there were multiple ways that Clapper could have truthfully answered the question without revealing any confidential information. Merely saying that he would provide details in a classified setting -- exactly as Clapper did in an earlier letter -- does not, in fact, reveal anything sensitive. It might make people ask what he meant, and might make some people take some guesses, but it would not reveal anything confidential.

    And you know that. So I don't understand why you are lying, other than this sick desire to protect a confessed Congressional liar.

    The letter is nice political "theater", and nothing more.


    I would argue that was much more true of your buddy Jimmy Clapper's performance in which he lied to Congress.

     

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  27.  
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    Bengie, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 5:57pm

    Banned from the USA

    He should have all of his assets frozen and removed from the country.

    This guy pissed on the American flag and wiped his ass with it.

    As an ex-military person, his sole duty was not only to protect our country, but to also protect our Constitution. He has failed and deliberately has attempted to dismantle the Constitution while lying to everyone while doing it.

    He is the worst of the worst. He is the perfect example of what treason is, he is an enemy of the people.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 6:01pm

    Re: Re:

    Apparently you are unable or unwilling to consider the possible ramifications for each of the answers you vigorously assert are the only ones that are proper. Such consideration would be an exercise in abstract thought that if undertaken just might give you and others some pause for reflection.

    Let me summarize my position as follows. I express no opinion on what the NSA has been doing. I express no opinion on the legality of what it has been doing. I express no opinion on whether or not what is has been doing was even useful or necessary. I express only that Wyden acted cowardly and deserves scorn for throwing Clapper under the bus rather that sticking his own neck out to do what he considered right and just. Snowden stuck his out and has been prepared to pay the price for his actions...whatever that price may prove to be. Snowden puts Wyden to shame when it comes to the courage of one's convictions.

     

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  29.  
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    Hans, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 9:29pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I would submit that correcting the Clapper situation requires both types of people, Snowden's and Wyden's. Neither one could have accomplished the current result without the other.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2013 @ 12:12am

    Re: Re: Re:

    As if you know anything about courage.

     

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    David, Dec 20th, 2013 @ 12:15am

    Re:

    You mean like, "he was a hero and completely right, only sometimes on the wrong people"?

    That clappertrap is what I get to read on forums where the issue comes up.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2013 @ 4:34am

    LOL What the F is up with the signature of Ted Poe? My doctors is not even that bad.

     

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    David, Dec 20th, 2013 @ 5:48am

    Re: It's very simple

    Oh, come on. Clapper does not need anything on Holder for Holder not to want perjury before congress turn into something taken seriously.

    In his position of Attorney General, Eric Holder engaged in illegal arms trafficking (separation of powers, anybody?) and provably lied several times under oath to congress about it. He got reprimanded for it and had to initiate an inspection into his felonies and let himself off with a high-five on his wrist.

    If the Attorney General is allowed to pull off those antics, it's on obvious free-for-all for any politician. It's on the House.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2013 @ 6:53am

    Re:

    It is virtually impossible to lie (intentionally attempt to mislead) a group of people who already know the correct answer to a question.

    No - it's just easier to get caught, which is exactly what happened.

    It's stupid when a 5-year old does it to his parents.

    It's MONUMENTALLY stupid when a high ranking official does it under oath and on record.

     

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    William Payne (profile), Dec 20th, 2013 @ 7:23am

    Sympathy

    I feel kinda sorry for Clapper - I guess he is just trying to do his job and duty, as best he understands them. Perhaps there should be a court case:- The precedent would be a good one to set. However, I don't think that he personally deserves the hatred that he gets in these forums. Criticism, yes; pointed criticism even, fair enough ... but lets' not cross the line into abuse. Besides which, we will need the agencies technical assistance to unravel all of the persistent and ubiquitous surveillance capabilities that we have created over the past decade, and to protect us all from the efforts of overseas agencies and organisations; entities that do not offer up even a pretence of oversight and restraint.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2013 @ 8:14am

    The usual two sets of rules.

    If it was you or I, we'd already be in jail.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2013 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re:

    OK...It is virtually impossible to lie (intentionally attempt to mislead) a group of people who already know the correct answer to a question because you have already given it to them.

    Of course he "lied", but any other answer in a public forum would have compromised classified subject matter. It has been suggested by some, and with justification, that by asking the question Wyden may have violated the obligations he assumed when he was granted a security clearance.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 21st, 2013 @ 1:20am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Of course he "lied", but any other answer in a public forum would have compromised classified subject matter.

    You keep saying that even though this has been 100% debunked, as proved by the way Clapper has answered similar questions in the past by noting that he could only provide a full answer in a classified setting.

    It has been suggested by some, and with justification, that by asking the question Wyden may have violated the obligations he assumed when he was granted a security clearance.

    This is the most insane comment I've seen from you yet. You're saying that a Senator asking a basic question, and having the head of the intelligence services commit out and out perjury, should be blamed more for asking the question?

    You need SERIOUS help. Please go seek it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2013 @ 7:46am

    I have said it before and will say it again one last time. If you or others who promote with absolute conviction of their "rightness" were intimately familiar with the requirements imposed on those given a security clearance, each of you would immediately realize that things are not always as easy as they might otherwise seem. You would realize for example that Wyden, by virtue of his security clearance, was provided access to classified information in his position as part of the group tasked with legislative oversight. Obviously, he did not like what he learned, and perhaps with good reason, but he was duty bound to preserve the information in the strictest of confidence from disclosure to others not having a clearance and a need to know. So, what did he do? He insinuated an answer at the hearing by his question, and then tried to "force" someone else, also having the same obligation, to breach his obligation in a public forum by confirming Wyden's insinuation.

    As I have said before and it bears repeating, I am expressing no opinion about what the information comprised. My point is simply that no matter what the information comprised, disclosure to others lacking a security clearance by law must follow a specific procedural path. If one decides "screw the path" then they do so at their legal peril. Wyden was clearly unwilling to pursue the requirements of law to have some or all of the information declassified, choosing instead to try and force someone else to unwillingly do so. To me this is an example of throwing someone else under the bus to avoid what would otherwise be the personal consequences, legal and otherwise, of disclosing the information himself. Love Wyden all you want, converse with him on matters of personal interest all you want, feel free to put him on your Christmas card list, but in my view you are associating yourself with one who in this instance has acted cowardly and without honor.

    As for those, including me, who believe that Wyden may have strayed into unchartered legal territory with his question, to ascribe some form of "insanity" is to deliberately decline to learn anything about why this was so. Persons who have expressed this concern have generally dealt with classified information procedures and law up close and personal for a very long time, which in my case is well prior to your date of birth. This is not an appeal to moral authority as you quite regularly proclaim. It is no more and no less than the opinion of one holding intimate knowledge of the process and the law.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2013 @ 8:07am

    You revel in using the word "debunked" to marginalize what others may have to say that is inconsistent with your opinions. In most, but not all, instances I happen to disagree because the others who have been "debunked" to present information that is informative and thought providing.

    Re Wyden's action, one of many examples is linked below:

    http://www.lawfareblog.com/2013/07/dishonor-in-high-places-sandbagging-the-intelligence-chief- again/

    You can disagree with what is said in this article and the many others that mirror its sentiments, but it cannot be denied that a substantial number of others do not share your view. What convinces you that you right and they are wrong I attribute to your unfamiliarity with the relevant process and law. For example, Wyden did have other avenues, and perhaps even constitutional immunity, for bringing the information to the attention of the public. He chose to pursue none of them, deciding instead to score in a very public way political points at the expense of someone else.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2013 @ 8:09am

    "to" should read "do" and "providing" should read "provoking"

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 22nd, 2013 @ 12:50am

    Re:

    Seriously. Seek help. I'm not being glib. I think you need serious medical attention.

    If you or others who promote with absolute conviction of their "rightness" were intimately familiar with the requirements imposed on those given a security clearance, each of you would immediately realize that things are not always as easy as they might otherwise seem.

    I know multiple people, including close family members, who have the necessary security clearance. They think you need serious help.

    Obviously, he did not like what he learned, and perhaps with good reason, but he was duty bound to preserve the information in the strictest of confidence from disclosure to others not having a clearance and a need to know.

    Nothing Wyden did revealed any classified info. Try again.

    So, what did he do? He insinuated an answer at the hearing by his question, and then tried to "force" someone else, also having the same obligation, to breach his obligation in a public forum by confirming Wyden's insinuation.

    Again, the question that Wyden asked revealed no classified info. A truthful answer would reveal no classified information.

    My point is simply that no matter what the information comprised, disclosure to others lacking a security clearance by law must follow a specific procedural path.

    Right. But we're not talkng about classified info being disclosed.

    That's part of the mental block on your part and why I think you need to see a doctor. You simply don't seem attached to reality. Wyden was not trying to reveal classified information.

    If one decides "screw the path" then they do so at their legal peril. Wyden was clearly unwilling to pursue the requirements of law to have some or all of the information declassified, choosing instead to try and force someone else to unwillingly do so.

    Same comment as above. Your entire point is based on a false premise.

    you are associating yourself with one who in this instance has acted cowardly and without honor.

    You're insane. Wyden helped to call attention to an UNCONSTITUTIONAL program and a SECRET interpretation of the law that allowed the government to spy on Americans in violation fo the 4th Amendment.

    He's cowardly and without honor? You may be the most despicable person alive.

    As for those, including me, who believe that Wyden may have strayed into unchartered legal territory with his question

    Anyone who thinks that is insane. Certifiably.

    No one other than extreme fascists seem to think that. Are you really in that category?

    Wyden asked a straightforward question that revealed no classified info. It could have been answered truthfully in a manner that still revealed no classified info. Instead, Clapper lied to Congress, which IS against the law.

    You a sick human being.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2013 @ 7:28am

    The fact, assuming its accuracy, that some persons you know have security clearances it totally irrelevant.

    You keep harping "But Wyden did nothing wrong because his question did not disclose any classified information!"

    Are you really so na´ve you actually believe that the mere asking of such a question conveys no useful information to others? How about the fact it can be construed to reveal that there exists a classified matter? After all, if no such matter exists (which Wyden knew was not the case from the classified material to which he was made privy), then why even ask the question in the first place? Things like this do not go unnoticed by those who could not care less about our country's national security interests, and especially matters before groups that regularly receive briefings involving national security matters in closed session.

    Since you keep trying to marginalize comments with which you disagree with comments like "insane", "you need help", etc., then clearly you have absolutely no interest in learning how our classified information system actually works and why this is so. Opinions formed upon an incomplete set of facts are faith based, hardly the basis upon which to begin a meaningful discussion.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2013 @ 7:38am

    "You a sick human being."

    I did not notice this until after I posted my above comment.

    Personal attacks reduced to this disgustingly low level obviously give you much pleasure. Unfortunately, they also reflect negatively on you as an individual who seeks to be taken as a serious, reliable source of accurate and objective analysis on a wide range of issues.

    This said...Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

     

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  45.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 22nd, 2013 @ 9:37am

    Re:

    The fact, assuming its accuracy, that some persons you know have security clearances it totally irrelevant.


    Yes, it is. But you were the one who first suggested that it mattered. I was pointing out that you were wrong. As per usual. I'm just saying that a lot of people who have security clearance that I know agree that Wyden's question was perfectly fine. You keep insisting that you possess some magical level of knowledge given your history. You don't.

    Are you really so na´ve you actually believe that the mere asking of such a question conveys no useful information to others?

    I did not say that. What I said was that the question was asked and an answer could be provided that revealed no classified information. Pretty much everyone except the extreme fascist surveillance state supporters have acknowledged this. In fact, as noted, Clapper has answered nearly identical questions in the past, such as in letters in which he noted that the full answer was provided in a separate classified letter -- which revealed no classified info on their own. As such, he clearly could have done the same thing here.

    While it may be true that some of us who follow these things would then speculate on the nature of what he was talking about, the general idea that *maybe* the NSA was collecting a lot of information of an *unknown type* on *many* Americans reveals FUCK ALL about a classified program.

    After all, if no such matter exists (which Wyden knew was not the case from the classified material to which he was made privy), then why even ask the question in the first place?

    Again, the question was so general, and could be answered in such a general way that it revealed no classified information. Even Feinstein admitted that she was shocked by his answer. She's said nothing about the question. When you're more supportive of insane theories than Feinstein, you need help.

    Things like this do not go unnoticed by those who could not care less about our country's national security interests, and especially matters before groups that regularly receive briefings involving national security matters in closed session.

    Again, the most that would have been revealed is very general information. The fact that the US collect some information on lots of people doesn't reveal anything.

    clearly you have absolutely no interest in learning how our classified information system actually works and why this is so.

    As noted, I understand how it works and converse frequently with many people who have tremendous experience with it. The reason I'm calling your insane theory insane, is because it is.

    Opinions formed upon an incomplete set of facts are faith based, hardly the basis upon which to begin a meaningful discussion.

    My opinion is not based on an incomplete set of facts.

    I will note that not a single serious person has agreed with your theory. I've yet to see any attempt by even the nuttiest nutballs in Congress to sanction Wyden. Yet, there is such an effort under way to go after Clapper.

    Only extreme conspiracy theorists like yourself seem to think Wyden did something wrong.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2013 @ 10:45am

    "Not a single serious person..." And who gets to define "serious"? I have read the comments of numerous persons within the intelligence community, members of Congress, lawyers, academics, members of the media, etc. who have published articles and op-eds that do not at all share your certainty...each of them taking Wyden to task for the very reasons I have noted.

    I take it that Stewart Baker is not serious enough to your liking. The same is obviously true of Marc Thiessen. What about Joel Brenner? Senator Feinstein? She tried when opening the meeting to prevent Wyden from presenting the question to Clapper. What about Representative King?

    Feel free to hate their opinions for whatever reason strikes your fancy (Baker, Brenner...they worked at one time within the intelligence community and are biased beyond redemption. Thiessen...he is not a serious journalist. Feinstein...she has been brainwashed and has gone over to the dark side. King...he is a pompous, bombastic fool, and persons like him can never express opinions on issues that should ever be taken seriously.)

    If you reject out of hand the point I and others have made, then obviously you do not understand the issue we are addressing and why we believe Wyden was wrong to proceed as he did, and why Clapper was left with no reasonable alternative under the circumstances to answer as he did.

     

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  47.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 22nd, 2013 @ 7:56pm

    Re:

    I take it that Stewart Baker is not serious enough to your liking. The same is obviously true of Marc Thiessen. What about Joel Brenner? Senator Feinstein? She tried when opening the meeting to prevent Wyden from presenting the question to Clapper. What about Representative King?

    Can you name anyone outside of the extreme lunatic fringe? Do you really wish to associate yourself with people who have so consistently been proven to be completely idiotically clueless?

    When I said "serious people" I meant: someone who is actually doing something about it. There has not been a single move to even complain about Wyden's question by anyone in a role to do anything. Because, as you either don't understand or are too clueless to comprehend -- his question revealed no classified information.

    It could not have. A very general question about whether or not such data was collected would not and could not reveal classified information.

    hen obviously you do not understand the issue we are addressing and why we believe Wyden was wrong to proceed as he did

    Or, we understand it, and realize that it's the dumbest concept ever.

    why Clapper was left with no reasonable alternative under the circumstances to answer as he did.

    Again, you look really really stupid (I mean monumentally so) making this argument given that (1) Clapper himself answered similar questions in exactly the manner we suggested he could have responded honestly, and it did not reveal any classified info or set off any great national security crisis. (2) Clapper himself has not sunk so stupendously low to make the argument you're now making.

    When you're lower than James Clapper... you're beneath contempt.

     

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  48.  
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    GEMont, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 12:45am

    Gonna give yerself an anurism....

    Yo Mike....

    I don't really wanna come between you and your attempt to show the world how silly the Anon Cow is, but the Anon Cow is doing a damn fine job of misdirecting the forum's debate away from Clapper and onto Wyden and - don't mean to be snarky here Mike, but you're just giving him/her fuel to fulfill his/her task.

    And in truth, you have already blown every word he/she has posted, clean out of the water, and he/she is just poking a pointy stick through the bars of your cage right now cuz yer all pissed and such. He's got you repeating yourself.... repeatedly.

    The best paid shills are those who can cause just enough ire and frustration in other posters to get them to keep responding to the detour topic, and keep them away from the actual subject matter that their masters want detoured.

    Bonuses accrue when such shills can actually redirect all of the participants onto the new detour path and away from the actual subject matter of the article.

    Double bonuses accrue when the false arguments prevent the entire forum from returning to the original topic long enough for the topic to die.

    This critter is gonna get over-time and triple bonuses if ye don't just let him/her fade away back into the void.

    Go punch a pillow instead. :)

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re:

    Read Brenner's article at Lawfare. While he expresses his opinion much more forcefully that me, he does provide some interesting background that serves to inform others why Mr. Wyden is not "saintly" and Mr. Clapper not the "devil" that some are making him out to be.

    As for saying the question did not disclose any classified information, bear in mind that in this instance the mere existence of a data collection effort of the magnitude and scope posited was deemed classified. The actual program itself and what it actually did was likewise classified. It was the former that came into play when the question was posed to Mr. Clapper, and no matter how he answered he was exposed to criminal liability because he was subject to two separate laws that under the circumstances presented at the public meeting were in conflict and irreconcilable. Wyden has at least two ways to address the matter, one via proposed legislation and the other by Congressional immunity conferred by the Constitution. He used neither for reasons he has never attempted to explain.

     

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  50.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: Re:

    As for saying the question did not disclose any classified information, bear in mind that in this instance the mere existence of a data collection effort of the magnitude and scope posited was deemed classified.

    The program was classified. The fact that the NSA collected data on Americans was not classified. Nor could it be. Furthermore, Clapper saying -- as he did when previously asked a similar question -- that full details would be provided in a classified setting, would not and did not reveal any classified information. As you have been told, and as has been explained by multiple people who have a lot longer history with understanding this stuff than you.

    It was the former that came into play when the question was posed to Mr. Clapper, and no matter how he answered he was exposed to criminal liability because he was subject to two separate laws that under the circumstances presented at the public meeting were in conflict and irreconcilable.

    You keep saying that and look worse each time. Once again, it has been explained to you multiple times the myriad ways in which he could -- and in fact did -- answer that question legally when asked. This time he chose not to use one of those ways, but rather chose to lie to Congress and the American public. The claim that he faced criminal liability no matter what he did is absolutely false.

    Wyden has at least two ways to address the matter, one via proposed legislation and the other by Congressional immunity conferred by the Constitution. He used neither for reasons he has never attempted to explain.

    You leave out the much more obvious other answer: Wyden has nothing at all "to address" because he did not force Clapper into an untenable position, and no one outside of the lunatic fringe seems to think so. Considering that not a single effort has been made to even bring this issue up to Wyden suggests that this is the truth, and your lunatic conspiracy theory is... well, only of interest to folks like yourself who can't bring yourself to realize the basic truth that James Clapper broke the law, and Wyden did not.

    The facts are the facts. Clapper broke the law. He has admitted to breaking the law. Wyden did not. No one has actually accused him of doing so in any official capacity. Clapper, on the other hand...

     

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


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