Remember When White House Insisted James Clapper Wasn't Overseeing Review Of Surveillance? About That…

from the we'll-just-redefine-"oversee" dept

You may recall that President Obama announced plans for an “independent group” of “outside experts” who would: “consider how we can maintain the trust of the people, how we can make sure that there absolutely is no abuse in terms of how these surveillance technologies are used [and] ask how surveillance impacts our foreign policy.” Except, three days later, it was revealed that the review board would be overseen by confessed liar to Congress James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence. After that got a ton of bad press, the White House hastily insisted that Clapper would not be associated with the group.

Right, so about that. According to the AP, the whole thing is more or less being managed by James Clapper:

… the review panel has effectively been operating as an arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the NSA and all other U.S. spy efforts.

The panel’s advisers work in offices on loan from the DNI. Interview requests and press statements from the review panel are carefully coordinated through the DNI’s press office. James Clapper, the intelligence director, exempted the panel from U.S. rules that require federal committees to conduct their business and their meetings in ways the public can observe. Its final report, when it’s issued, will be submitted for White House approval before the public can read it.

Now, Clapper may not technically be on the committee or running it, but since everything is under control of his offices, and they’re working out of his offices, does anyone actually believe they’re even remotely “independent”?

Oh, and remember how President Obama described how this group would focus on making sure the systems couldn’t be abused and rebuilding the trust of the public? Yeah, that’s not actually their mandate (or, if it is, it got shoved way, way down on the priority list). Also, the whole promise of it being “independent” was already seen as a joke once everyone realized they were insiders, but even the official memo setting up the board did away with the claim (stated just days earlier by the President) that this would be an independent board. And the actual focus of the board is not, actually, on what has most people concerned:

The formal White House memorandum days later — effectively the legal charter for the group — does not specify anything about its role being independent of the Obama administration. It directed the panel to emphasize in its review whether U.S. spying programs protect national security, advance foreign policy and are protected against the types of leaks that led to the national debate in the first place. The final consideration in the White House memo told the panel to examine “our need to maintain the public trust.” There was no mention of the panel investigating surveillance abuses.

Basically, this board, which was proposed by the President — or so he told us — as a way to review the efforts and rebuild the trust of the American public, was actually set up to be something entirely different: a propaganda committee effectively overseen by James Clapper to talk up how awesome the surveillance state has become.

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Comments on “Remember When White House Insisted James Clapper Wasn't Overseeing Review Of Surveillance? About That…”

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30 Comments
Michael (profile) says:

James Clapper

Credit where credit is due. This guy is amazing! He spies on US citizens, lies to congress about it, lies directly to the American people, ADMITS he has been spying and lying – and ends up with the independent investigators WORKING OUT OF HIS OFFICES!

He is either the king of bulllshitting, or he has some very compromising pictures of both democratic and republican leaders.

I think he should be thrown in prison, but I’m not sure if it is because he is an awful individual or that I am just jealous.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: A persian cat, of course.

I’ve already hypothesized how the NSA surveillance programs must be run by some cat-stroking evil genius, considering it has successfully taken control of all three branches of the US (and therefore its robust military and law enforcement departments).

He always runs while others walk.
He asks while other men just talk.
He sees the world and wants it all…

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

there is an apocryphal story about how a new pres get elected, and before he/she takes office, a group of shadowy types working for the power elites, takes them aside and shows them a ‘home movie’…

the movie shows the kennedy entourage going through dallas on 22 nov 1963, and is from an angle never seen before, the movie clearly shows kennedy getting his head blowed off from the grassy knoll…

after the movie, the lights come back up, and the shadowy folk ask the new president: ‘any questions ?’…

just sayin’…

Anonymous Coward says:

It directed the panel to emphasize in its review whether U.S. spying programs protect national security, advance foreign policy and are protected against the types of leaks that led to the national debate in the first place. The final consideration in the White House memo told the panel to examine “our need to maintain the public trust.” There was no mention of the panel investigating surveillance abuses.

Protect national security = Preserve the power of the federal government and the corporations that increasingly control it.

Advance foreign policy = Further the ability of the US federal government to interfere in other governments, but primarily allowing corporations to gain increasing control of other governments (often through increased “trade agreements” like TPP) just as they have done in the US.

are protected against the types of leaks that led to the national debate in the first placeour need to maintain the public trust. = Our need to keep the general population in the dark about how this planet is being transformed from a collection of independent nations into a global corporate oligarchy run by territorial “administrators”

Anonymous Coward says:

Maintain trust?

How can they maintain something that they have lost/discarded? The question is who can we trust now, we know that most every gov Rep. that has spoken on this issue has lied over and over again. The most trustworthy thing they could do now is to resign en mass. This might cause chaos, which actually could be an improvement on the current state of affairs.

dd says:

Chicago Way

Obama is a Chicago Democrat. The Univ of Illinois research showed that Chicago is the most politically corrupt city in the nation. Everyone from the Chicago burbs knew that Obama would end being the most corrupt President in history. Why the media didn’t tie him to Illinois Gov Blago’s plan to sell Obama’s Senate seat is criminal. Obama had to know and should be Blago’s cell mate for the next 25 years. And then the IRS attacks political opponents with government coercion! China is this corrupt!

Anonymous Coward says:

i would suggest that, apart from dismantling all these ‘security agencies’ and starting again, with the correct people in charge and oversight being conducted as it should, at all times, Mr President needs to offer his resignation. surely there has to be an end put on all this bull? how much more does the government expect the people to take before the repercussions get out of hand?

Anonymous Coward says:

This won’t end all the abuse. It’s pure coverup and bandaids. Notice that no one has released info that kills people but it sure has released a lot of embarrassing info. With all this going on, everyone is intent not on what has been revealed but what might be revealed. Were it bad enough to put them seriously on the spot, they’d be doing something about it besides cover up. So all this means is there is far worse we haven’t heard anything about.

Since no one is interested in doing the right thing it is obvious there is only one other step to take. Bring back the Amish amendment and end their funding. But don’t stop at the public side, take the black budget side from the pentagon at the same time. Once salaries stop, I think there would then come the possibility of a change of attitude.

That’s where were at. What little trust in the government there was, went off the cliff. They’ll actually have to do something to restore it. The NSA isn’t by itself enough.

Jerrymiah (profile) says:

Remember When White House Insisted James Clapper Wasn't Overseeing Review Of Surveillance

Who today can believe whatever Obama says. Him, along with CLapper, ALexander and Hayden (and quite a few others)should be expulsed from the US or prevented from ever holding public office again. None of them can actually be trusted. The’re all a bunch of liars.

Anonymous Coward says:

I read this insider panel had two separate meetings last week, at two separate locations.

One meeting was held for US IT firms, such as Google and Apple. The other meeting for privacy groups, such as ACLU and EFF.

The fact this insider panel is separating everyone into two separate groups, speaks volumes about they see spying abuses as two separate issues. Not related to each other.

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