No Real Changes Will Happen With NSA Surveillance Until Clapper And Alexander Are Fired

from the there-needs-to-be-punishment-for-lying dept

We’ve been arguing for months now that with James Clapper having admitted to blatantly lying to Congress (after trying to lie about the lie) that it’s insane that the man still has a job. If there is to be any accountability or trust going forward, he should lose his job (and potentially face charges). Instead, nothing is happening and no one seems to have any interest in doing anything. We’ve raised the question as to how anyone could possibly ever trust statements coming from the Intelligence Community again.

Once again: the director of the intelligence community flat out lied to Congress about it, admitted it, and there have been no consequences at all. What that teaches Clapper and others is that they can continue to lie, and, in fact, that they are effectively encouraged to lie, because there’s no downside risk in doing so.

It’s good to see we’re not the only ones who think so. James Goodale, a prominent First Amendment lawyer, and former General Counsel for the NY Times has written a stinging critique in the Guardian about all of the lies (noting that they go way beyond Clapper to Congress, but also include Clapper and Alexander both to the public and to the FISA court which is in charge of oversight):

The Director of National Intelligence James R Clapper admitted he lied to Congress about the NSA metadata collection program. He said the NSA had no such program – and then added that that was the least “untruthful” remark he could make. General Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, lied in 2012 that the NSA does not hold data on US citizens, and repeated similar misstatements, under oath, to Congress about the program:

We’re not authorized to do it [data collection on US citizens], nor do we do it.

NSA lawyers lied to secret Fisa court Judges John D Bates and Reggie B Walton. In recently released opinions, Bates said he had been lied to on three separate occasions and Walton said he had been lied to several times also.

Then he notes that there’s been no punishment at all for these guys, which is absolutely true. He further calls out the Justice Department for refusing to investigate the lies to the FISA court, and notes that if President Obama actually wants to rebuild trust in the government and the intelligence community it must include punishing those who lied to Congress and to the FISA court. Otherwise, it is guaranteed that they will do so again.

Filed Under: , , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “No Real Changes Will Happen With NSA Surveillance Until Clapper And Alexander Are Fired”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Ninja (profile) says:

And perhaps that’s precisely why they are still there. The Govt doesn’t want any changes except those these guys support and want. They are not where they are for some random reason. Much like the new FBI guy is not there for nothing. The US Govt has a clear goal. And it goes completely against what the Constitution says or what the Americans really want.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Not to mention the Rosen-case and Eric Holders continuing service. The government is falling into oblivion with a president saying all the right things and doing the exact opposite. Right now, the guy is out of party-political goals and visions to pursue, his government is getting into things that would normally cause impeachment and congress is in a complete gridlock on all economic issues as well as turning to partyline fascism. Usually these are signs of an election closing in, but in this case it is pure suicide majorities beating up on minorities. There is for certain a need for something drastic to change. What that something could be is still invisible in the current climate. A simple change in political majorities is never going to be enough!

CK20XX (profile) says:

Re: Re: Ah, the dreaded parenthetical: "(and potentially face charges)"!

There really is no way to cope
With such a nasty misanthrope
Except perhaps to take a rope
And tie him to a chair
Then drag him to a shopping mall
And put him in a little stall
Charge a dime to throw a ball at
Citizen Contraire

Citizen Contraire!
Citizen Contraire!

Anonymous Coward says:

Silly Mike, it’s perfectly fine to lie about anything at all war related. And we’re obviously at war with the entire world, including the American people, otherwise the NSA wouldn’t be spying on us all! There’s no rules in wars!

But lying to congress about using steroids in baseball games? Oh no, you’re going to jail! Well… more like be brought to court twice only to be acquitted.

OldGeezer (profile) says:

If a police department is exposed to have wide spread corruption, not only would the guilty cops be fired and prosecuted but heads would roll all the way up the chain for anyone in authority. Even if they had no knowledge of any criminal acts they would get canned for not providing enough oversight to have discovered the corruption. If someone in high authority was aware and perjured themselves in a cover up they would get the worst punishment. Clapper and Alexander have not even gotten so much as a slap on the wrist from the Obama administration.

OldGeezer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It has happened but probably far less than it should. Probably has a lot to do with whether the press gets wind of it. On the other hand too often police are criticized unfairly. Two recent events in my city:
A man fleeing a burglary was seen ON VIDEO firing a shot at an officer. The cop did not return fire until after he ordered him to put the gun down and the man turned and raised it toward him again.
Another man who was already wanted for murdering his girlfriend held up a pharmacy firing off several shots in the crowded store. He barricaded himself in a nearby apartment building and fired at police several times in a 30 hour standoff. The police chief was strongly criticized for finally giving the order to “take him out”.
In both cases the whining in the press about police brutality was enough to make me sick.

tommygilley (profile) says:

Not yet

I think you are exactly right, but I don’t think the hue and cry should start yet. The two of them are in with Congress fighting for the right to be king of all media. Men like that will ratchet the intensity up a notch if their program and their career’s are on the line.

After Udall and Co. have had their chance, somebody needs to get omto and start a petition. It’ll be over 100k in about 3 hours.

Anonymous Coward says:

I made this point yesterday that nothing will change nor will there be any drive to change unless heads roll at NSA. Gen. Alexander is the reason that the NSA so often willingly and hunts methods to make it sound as if it’s all legal. Clapper has known creditability gaps and it has damaged his ability to do his job properly with the trust of government and the public. I see neither as acceptable to continue in their present duties and should be removed the soonest.

Above someone makes mention about 9/11. Under most circumstances I am not much of a conspiracy tin foil hat wearer but on this one I very much believe it to be a false flag operation as there are too many unanswered questions, not to mention circumstances, added to the fact of how convenient it was for Bush who was chomping at the bit for war.

In recent court news from the UK I bring this little tidbit.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Aaaand I counter your link with this one

Long story short, the judge refused to accept the evidence because it meant him ruling that the BBC is guilty of terrorism, a crime, something he cannot do in that case (TV licence evasion).
It would sorta be like me saying to a judge “I don’t deserve to go to jail even though I have this pot, this pot came from the guy next door”. For the judge to accept my defence in that case would mean unilaterally ruling that the guy next door is a criminal, without letting the guy next door have a trial of his own.

OldGeezer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So then you are saying, somehow the government knew well in advance that the planes would be highjacked and what their targets would be. Instead of making any attempt to stop it they rigged the buildings with explosives to make it worse just to have an excuse to go to war. Bush didn’t need this to get us involved. He could have just kept pushing his weapons of mass destruction bullshit. I have only ever believed in one conspiracy theory and that is the JFK assassination. Probably a mob hit.

9Blu (profile) says:


“No Real Changes Will Happen With NSA Surveillance Until Clapper And Alexander Are Fired”

No, no real changes will happen with NSA surveillance until the majority of the general public starts to give a damn about it. The most shocking thing to come out of this entire affair (for me at least) is that most people in this country seem perfectly OK with what’s going on. Honestly, I find that far more frightening than anything the government is doing at the moment.

The real reason most of this was kept so tightly guarded wasn’t to prevent tipping off the bad guys (the smart ones already figured we were doing what it turns out we were doing, and the dumb ones will get caught no matter what they know). The reason was that they feared a public backlash. They didn’t get one, not really. Sure a minority of us are up in arms about it, but most people either don’t seem that upset, or actually support it! Which brings up the question: If they were afraid they wouldn’t be able to get away with this but it turns out they can, WTF are they going to do next?

FM Hilton (profile) says:

Who's minding the store, anyway?

“Ultimately the buck stops with the 1% i.e. with the real owners of America. If they want to bring about a police state, and everything suggests they do, it will happen regardless of what individuals are at the helm.”

I think that you overestimate the intelligence of the American public, or the level of interest in this subject. According to one survey, 15% of Americans do not have access to the Internet, and I doubt that they care. What about the other 85 % that do?

I bet that nearly 50% of anyone who’s on-line now does not give a damn about this, and that’s because they’re too busy chatting on yahoo, or posting on FB. They’re not affected, so they can’t care, or they don’t want to. They just don’t see the problem.

They’re convinced the government can do no wrong.

So it’s up to the small percentage that do know about it and care about it to make the change; however, that does not include Congress, because we all know what they think about it-not much, and even then, they’re thinking of ways to curtail privacy as we speak or write (CISPA).

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Who's minding the store, anyway?

You’re right that apathy is a huge factor (as it has always been in human history, and always will be). One way to begin to eat away at it is to address this:

They’re not affected, so they can’t care

Everyone is affected by this, regardless of whether or not they use the internet or even just plain telephones for that matter. So, step one is to counter the false perception that it doesn’t affect them.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...