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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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jul 2013 @ 12:23pm

    Re:

    It's because of this type of crap that Americans sit back and do nothing but switch to a TV show where a 5 year old is dressed up in a pink tutu in order to win a beauty contest. I don't agree with it, but it's escapism, and I'm not sure I can wholeheartedly blame them.

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