Now That The Intelligence Community Got Away With Lying, How Can You Trust Anything They Say?

from the there's-no-punishment dept

We've already discussed how Director of National Intelligence James Clapper flat out lied to Congress (and the American public) and gets away with it completely. While the Obama administration and other surveillance defenders have been almost universal in support for Clapper, despite his lying to Congress and the American public, this seems like a really bad strategy. As has been discussed, at the Black Hat conference, NSA director General Keith Alexander was heckled by someone who accused him of lying to Congress as well, perhaps confusing Alexander for Clapper or perhaps assuming that Alexander told lies another time.

But here's the thing: given Clapper's admitted lying combined with the complete lack of any direct consequences for doing so, there's simply no reason at all to take anything that Clapper or Alexander says at face value. Alexander, especially, has been trying to go on a charm offensive to convince people that the press reports are exaggerated. He even "cursed" during his speech at Black Hat, and then pretended that it was by accident, and asked that it not be mentioned, trying to show how "honest" he was being. But all the charm in the world can't overcome the simple fact that everyone knows that there appear to be no direct consequences for lying. Even if we want to believe him, it's pretty difficult.

If the administration really wants to convince us that the surveillance programs are above board, it seems that keeping on an admitted liar to both Congress and the American public as the "face" of such programs isn't a particularly intelligent idea. It just makes people that much less likely to believe anything that Clapper, Alexander or others say about the program in their attempts to defend it.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2013 @ 7:20pm

    Clapper was set up by Wyden's game of political theater. Yes, I understand about Wyden's prior expressions of concern given his access to security briefings, but he also well knew that asking this question in an open forum would box Clapper in and leave him no alternative that would avoid the disclosure, directly or indirectly, of classified information.

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