Compare: Clapper 'Unscathed' After Lying About Surveillance; Snowden 'Stateless' & 'Hounded' For Revealing Those Lies

from the shameful dept

Earlier this month, we noted the contrast between Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former NSA contractor Ed Snowden. Clapper, as you may recall, flat out lied to Congress about US surveillance, then lied about the lying, changed his story three times, and finally admitted it. Snowden, on the other hand, told the public about those lies and provided the proof. The contrast between the two comes into stark contrast today with two different things.

First, we have Snowden holding a press conference from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, where he has been effectively confined for weeks — and will likely remain for some indefinite period. In his statement, he notes that he has been offered asylum, but he has become “stateless” and while he has accepted the offers of asylum, incredible and illegal efforts by the US government have made it so that he is unable to actually travel to the countries that have granted him asylum.

… the government and intelligence services of the United States of America have attempted to make an example of me, a warning to all others who might speak out as I have. I have been made stateless and hounded for my act of political expression. The United States Government has placed me on no-fly lists. It demanded Hong Kong return me outside of the framework of its laws, in direct violation of the principle of non-refoulement – the Law of Nations. It has threatened with sanctions countries who would stand up for my human rights and the UN asylum system. It has even taken the unprecedented step of ordering military allies to ground a Latin American president’s plane in search for a political refugee. These dangerous escalations represent a threat not just to the dignity of Latin America, but to the basic rights shared by every person, every nation, to live free from persecution, and to seek and enjoy asylum.

Of course, around the same time Snowden was making that statement, the AP was reporting that Clapper has emerged from this whole thing “unscathed,” with no one questioning whether he ought to be fired, or even charged with perjury or contempt of Congress, for both running the questionable intelligence program and then outright lying about the program (and then lying about those lies). The AP report goes even further, noting that Clapper has been flat out wrong in a number of things he’s told Congress in recent years, which normally would raise questions about his credibility. But not with Congress, apparently.

Incredibly, his defenders in Congress say that they should give him the benefit of the doubt, because he’s so honest:

“This administration views Snowden as the problem, not Gen. Clapper,” House Intelligence Committee member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said of Clapper, a retired Air Force lieutenant general. “He is generally a very straight shooter. I think people are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he wasn’t trying to mislead the Senate.”

It’s Clapper’s bluntness — in closed hearings, away from the cameras — that will likely be his saving grace, according to former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican.

“I never found him to parse his words or answers,” Hoekstra said. “You might not agree with him, and you could have a very spirited argument with him. He wouldn’t try to hide it. And that’s a good thing.”

So, apparently, if you spy on people, lie about it, but talk “bluntly” to Congress about those lies and your spying, that’s okay. But if you’re an NSA contractor who reveals that Clapper is an out and out liar, potentially violating the Constitutional protections of millions of Americans, you need to be hounded around the globe, and blocked from actually leaving an airport in Moscow.

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Comments on “Compare: Clapper 'Unscathed' After Lying About Surveillance; Snowden 'Stateless' & 'Hounded' For Revealing Those Lies”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

The charges as listed vs. the real 'crime'

Ah, but you see Snowden isn’t really being charged with the leaks, as other who leak stuff that make those in power look good, or information that at least doesn’t make them look bad are treated much more mildly, no, he’s being persecutes as he is because he made those in power look bad, a ‘crime’ for which there is no equal in their eyes.

Clapper is one of those in power, and if lying was a punishable offense, then a whole lot of them would be in trouble, hence they won’t do a thing about him, as it would set a dangerous(for them) precedent.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The charges as listed vs. the real 'crime'

no, he’s being persecutes as he is because he made those in power look bad, a ‘crime’ for which there is no equal in their eyes

This hits so close to my own conclusion-on-limited-anecdote it brought tears.

Our people with power have been acting like this for many decades, and they’re just getting more and more lazy and childish as time passes.

I did the iggy says:

Re: The charges as listed vs. the real 'crime'

lying to congress or the senate IS a real crime. It’s called perjury, And Clapper has perjured himself before the two biggest juries in the country, and not even our beloved Ron Wyden will call him on it. Wouldn’t you like to know what’s really going on here?

A Monkey with Attitude says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I always ask and have yet to get a decent answer:

“Why do we elect people to lead a country, city, or state, that we would not trust with our wallet, kids, or want to associate with?”

I can think of very few in Washington that i would actually enjoy sitting down with over dinner, much less trust them to watch my kids or hold my wallet.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Why do we elect people to lead a country, city, or state, that we would not trust with our wallet, kids, or want to associate with?”

I have two answers:

First, how am I supposed to know who I would or would not trust with my kids, etc.? I don’t know, and will never, know any of these people well enough to determine that. And I’m not sure how relevant that would be for being a good representative, anyway.

Second, we can only vote for the people who are on the ballot. For the most part, the sorts of people who seek office are exactly the sorts of people who should not be entrusted with it. So it’s not like we have a real choice when it comes to personality types.

Guardian says:

what we have here is a failure to communicate

what we need here is a air plane that can travel all the way to the destination and have a ton of women and kids willing to get on board…you want to harm kids obama , or women..i don’t think so…..that would be the nail…..that proves every single person your nation is no better then hitlers was….

this ^^^^ that we need to say this or suggest it is the damning bit in and of itself….

Anonymous Coward says:

Unbelievable their hypocrisy has no bounds. The damage to their tyranny is done whether they get Snowden or not. There will be numerous penalties, lawsuits, trade negotiations halted, new data laws enacted, leashes put on the amount of data that can be collected by US companies, proliferation of encryption on everything. A giant loss of money as people pull out of US cloud services to countries catch phrase is not “because terrorism”.

Only good things can come out of this for the rest of the world and Snowden was the catalyst.

Ninja (profile) says:

It has threatened with sanctions countries who would stand up for my human rights and the UN asylum system.

United Nations my arse. That shit is dominated by a few countries that can veto anything that goes against their wishes just because they got nukes. The UN can go to hell as far as I’m concerned.

As for the sanctions, I like how Ecuador told them to “bring it” when they threatened the country. The US is much more dependent of the world than the world is of the US. Suppose Brazil offers asylum and our President offers a ride to Snowden in her official airplane. The US can sanction whatever they want, there are a lot of others wanting to buy our commodities and as the market is set up today they may even be made fool of by other countries buying and reselling Brazilian stuff (that would be hilarious). And if they TRY to ground the plane they’ll get into a HUGE diplomatic incident risking a full scale conflict. Sure Brazil can’t cope with the US military power but it’s quite certain they’d have a ton of opposition against such move potentially becoming isolated even among their allies. Do they really want such a thing?

What country got the official plane grounded? I’m interested in knowing the developments of the episode.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“The UN can go to hell as far as I’m concerned.”

This is very narrow-minded. Remember that the UN is not exclusively made of the security council.

You want to send the ITU to hell? Or WHO? Or the other myriad of useful branches that are part of the UN and that make this world ever so slightly less hellish?

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Two Points

The lies Clapper told, that we know about, were in open hearings. He apparently did not lie in the closed sessions, and this is where he gets his pass.

The exposure is not just of US surveillance. Snowdens exposure opened up spying by a whole lot of countries.

The entire world should be grateful to Manning and Snowden, and others who came before (and those whom will come in the future) for exposing this atrocity against the people of the world.

gorehound (profile) says:

Re: Two Points

I for one am grateful to these Guys ! They managed to do what none of us really could.We may have shared News from Techdirt and other sites to our friends but not many even cared.Or cared enough to stop watching their dumb reality tv shows.

Lots of loser idiots on the online comments of mass media all stating how Snowden is not a hero.I am betting by the time their kids grow up or their grandkids they will be wishing that something was done.
The World of Orwell is very scary……………It Must Be Stopped !

Anonymous Coward says:

same old story. it’s not what you know, it’s who you know! i am still puzzled as to how anyone can possibly say that Snowden is a terrorist, an enemy of the state, who has been aiding the enemy. the thing that Snowden has done is make it public knowledge that what his government was doing was spying on not only US citizens, but on citizens in almost every country in the world. it seems to have been happening more readily with ‘allies’ than with ‘enemies’ (whichever these enemy countries are). he hasn’t given away any secrets, the US hasn’t got a better weapon than another country which has now been alerted. no battle plans have been handed over, nothing. the most damage that Snowden has done is embarrass his government and thank God he has. however, i am truly bemused as to how a person in one of the top most positions in the country can flat out lie to representatives of his government, the representatives that make laws, that give funding and permissions and doesn’t have a damn thing said against him, that doesn’t have a single punishment meted out to him but gets away with no harm done, then walks into a civilian job, while the other person that has helped every fellow citizen but made his government look like the liars they are and look silly has been made a citizen of nowhere! it sure must make everyone doubly keen to do their bit!!

ECA (profile) says:


My small town.
Something strange happened.
The money going to the city wasnt getting to the facilities that needed it.
there was all types of cutting costs, but no LOWERING of taxes.
For 10 years the city hadnt filed its Yearly assessments with the state.
The AG got a few notes asking about certain things happening..
MAYOR fired.
City hall paper work Assessed and cleaned up.
money was going into pockets.

So..NOTHING happened.
A person lost his job. but WHO can/will SUE to get the money back from those that took it?
City didnt..County didnt..STATE didnt..
The Person in charge of the police dept. FIRED another police officer, after he returned from military(Afghanistan).(fire without proper authorization)
Officer SUED the town.
Town LOST..$500,000(about 10 years of his wages)
Person in charge? NOTHING..he lost his job 1 year later.

there is tons more happening. and that HAS happened.
Even in many other towns and cities..
WHY arent the persons responsible being HELD responsible?

Iv also seen in news and so forth, STUFF like this is happening around the USA..
is this JUST a major con, or is there something behind it? trying to BREAK the towns and cities.

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