Obama Says James Clapper 'Should Have Been More Careful' In How He Lied To Congress

from the ridiculous dept

Many of us are still quite disappointed that James Clapper has kept his job as Director of National Intelligence after flat out lying to Congress over whether or not the NSA spied on Americans. There have been increasing calls from within Congress to have Clapper investigated and possibly prosecuted for the felony of lying to Congress, but there appears to be no movement there at all. Not only does the Obama administration seem to want to protect one of their own, but it's also made it clear that something like that would make it look like Ed Snowden "won" and they can't allow that sort of thing.

CNN's Jake Tapper finally got President Obama to "address" the issue in an interview, and the best that Obama could muster was that Clapper "should have been more careful" in how he lied to Congress:
“I think that Jim Clapper himself would acknowledge, and has acknowledged, that he should have been more careful about how he responded,” Obama told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “His concern was that he had a classified program that he couldn't talk about and he was in an open hearing in which he was asked, he was prompted to disclose a program, and so he felt that he was caught between a rock and a hard place.”
I'm wondering if anyone else charged with a felony for lying to Congress will now be able to use that excuse: yes, yes, they should have been more careful in how they lied to Congress.

As for the "rock and a hard place" claim, that's also simply untrue. Clapper knew full well the question was coming and also knew full well that he could easily respond by saying a variety of things, such as "I can only fully answer that question in a closed hearing." Clapper knows he can do this because he's done it many times before. In fact, he did it just this week when asked another question by Senator Wyden about the NSA's activities. He specifically said that he was uncomfortable discussing such details in an open hearing but would be happy to discuss them during a closed session. And, in fact, Clapper had done similar things in previous sessions, as is clear from the correspondences between him and Wyden that pre-dated the hearing where he lied.

For example, take a look at a letter Clapper sent in 2011 to Senator Ron Wyden, in which he states: "the questions you pose on geolocational information are difficult to answer in an unclassified letter." He was able to do that in 2011 and no parade of horribles followed. It did not reveal any "sources and methods" of classified intelligence. He easily could have done the same thing in 2013 when asked.

There was no rock. There was no hard place. Clapper didn't need to "be more careful." He lied. Which is a felony. And the President is excusing it because he doesn't want Snowden to "win."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 1:03pm

    Obama == Lawless!

    I wonder if that would work for the next criminal(s) that rob a bank because they are caught between a rock and a hard place.

     

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  2.  
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    Mike Taylor (profile), Jan 31st, 2014 @ 1:14pm

    What a desperate disappointment Obama has turned out to be

    "Yes we can" seems a very, very long time ago.

     

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  3.  
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    crade (profile), Jan 31st, 2014 @ 1:22pm

    To be fair, saying "I can only fully answer that question in a closed hearing" is exactly what Obama meant by "should have been more careful" in how he responded. Then he could lie in the closed hearing where it would never be vetted.

     

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  4.  
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    Loki, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 1:26pm

    something like that would make it look like Ed Snowden "won"

    It doesn't need to "look like", the fact is he has "won". We have the evidence, so now we actually *know* that every time they open their mouths they are lying, deceiving, and being duplicitous instead of just suspecting it.

    The only reason they don't see that as a "win" is because they have all still managed to retain their jobs somehow.

     

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  5.  
    icon
    AricTheRed (profile), Jan 31st, 2014 @ 1:39pm

    OMG OMG OMG LOOK AT THIS!

    ‘Pot odor’ leads to search of Bieber’s Super Bowl-party jet in NJ

    HSI/ICE doing "It's job"

    Now we just need som federal LAW ENFORCEMENT to investigate and impeach the lying bastids! in Washington and Ft Meade!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    krolork (profile), Jan 31st, 2014 @ 1:42pm

    We need a revolution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 1:45pm

    Obama is in no position to criticize Clapper for lying about something that Obama lied about himself -- many times over.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vixVPE4LBAU

     

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  8.  
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    Trip W (profile), Jan 31st, 2014 @ 1:47pm

    They don't want to let Snowden 'win'... in the meantime, they continue to prove that the American people have 'lost' in this whole thing.

    'Lost' our freedoms, 'lost' our faith that our elected officials are competent and at all trustworthy, and 'lost' hope that any of it is going to change any time soon.

    Can we screw everything up and somehow all keep our jobs? 'Yes we can!'

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 2:05pm

    We are a nation of men, not laws.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 2:16pm

    OR... instead of deliberately trying to deceive the American public, by hiding what he knew was a completely illegal program behind a lie, with the hopes that he would simply be accepted at his word, he could have responded "This is a question, I can't answer in a public hearing due to the classified nature of the program."

    Again, the only reason to lie, is because he KNEW it was an illegal program. An illegal program that would have nearly every American citizen upset if they were to be informed about it. These people use secret courts to get the rulings they desire, then call it legal. Examples need to be set so that people in these same positions in the future will think "I could end up in prison for the next 20 years, so maybe I should err on the side of protecting our constitutional rights", and that's the reason why this man needs to go to jail.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    edpo, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 2:19pm

    Clapped Llied and Broke the Law

    Of course Obama will protect Clapper. After all, if the lies of one result in accountability, there's a fear that the lies of the other will as well. And I voted for Obama twice. The President has not only been a disappointment personally, he's broken our social contract and our Constitutional obligations repeatedly. The guy is just another political scumbag at the end of the day.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 2:36pm

    And the buck is still going and going and going , it's bee passed so many times we'll lucky to see a nickle.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Clapped Llied and Broke the Law

    The question is, which is worse - a president who campaigns as a law-and-order nationalist and keeps his promise, or a president who campaigns as a freedom-loving leftist and breaks his promise?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 31st, 2014 @ 2:59pm

    Re: What a desperate disappointment Obama has turned out to be

    "Yes we can" is still an operable slogan. It's just that by "we", he meant his administration, not the people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 31st, 2014 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Re: Clapped Llied and Broke the Law

    Six of one, half dozen of the other.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 4:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Clapped Llied and Broke the Law

    Does honesty - or lack of - not count for anything?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 6:57pm

    Stalingrad happened, and NSA still in denial. Where does that end?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Jerrymiah, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 8:05pm

    Re: What a desperate disappointment Obama has turned out to be

    I think he would do well though as President of a Banana Republic.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    doctordrewl, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 8:25pm

    Crime is crime.

    So let's get this straight... the gov't is free to violate any law... as long as it's done under the umbrella of national security or state secrecy. Good thing we do everything possible to keep people with a potential conflict of interest out of the halls of power... oh wait!? Maybe that's why someone would spend several billion dollars to get a job that pays $400K a year.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Just Sayin', Jan 31st, 2014 @ 10:20pm

    Now you are just making stuff up

    Honestly, Obama didn't say "Should Have Been More Careful In How He Lied To Congress". He said he should have been more careful with how he answered. His answers may or may not have been lies (history will possibly tell us) but really, Obama didn't call him a liar.

    I know, it's your "opinion", but perhaps you could phrase it a bit better and stop trying to write link bait headlines to please Google.

     

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  21.  
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    Michael Donnelly (profile), Jan 31st, 2014 @ 11:08pm

    Nice headline, Mike.

    No sarcasm here. I was actually laughing out loud before reading the body of the post, since I knew what was coming.

    Comedy gold.

    Well, except the part where we're making fun of how these highly-ranked government officials live in a world devoid of consequences for their actions. But it's still a damn funny headline.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2014 @ 2:44am

    Re:

    NSA is part of the government agencies and thus under the control of il presidente. Any critizism voiced against those entities will be taken by the opposition and used against him.

    In this case, the picture the government is painting is Snowden as a traitor and NSA as virtuous and dilligent servants of the people. If Clapper was actually investigated for lying to congress, the president could face a problem from opposition* because his beautyful romantic picture would crack completely

    *Not republicans or democrats. Real opposition is increasingly one not consisting of political parties. Opposition is a coalition of lobbying entities, whether media, direct person to person lobbying or narrative control through think tanks with their "research" and narratives.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2014 @ 7:27am

    Re:

    We are a nation of immature dicks

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    @b, Feb 2nd, 2014 @ 5:36pm

    stand by ur man

    sharp talk of lies is to digress!
    when pardoned spies deride Congress!
    top secrets obscure their growing cloak!
    spying over-reach! Claptrap meta mispoke!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 3rd, 2014 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Clapped Llied and Broke the Law

    Of course it does. But so does actual results. If the honest nationalist and the dishonest populist both work towards the same end, then there is no operational difference between them, and neither has an edge for or against my vote.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    John A. Phillips, Feb 7th, 2014 @ 5:33pm

    On Political Corruption & The Preservation of Liberty

    No accountability!!! And the American
    people do not have the backbone or moral
    courage to hold any U.S. agency or U.S.
    politician accountable.Then Americans get
    exactly what they deserve. America is about
    pro-active democracy that extends far beyond
    just voting, as it was intended since it's beginning.
    If we are not pro-active, and demand accountability from
    the President on down we don't deserve to be called Americans. We now have a political federal system so deeply
    corrupt as a consequence.
    "What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?" - Thomas Jefferson

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    John A. Phillips, Feb 7th, 2014 @ 7:14pm

    On Political Corruption & The Preservation of Liberty

    As an critical note; on December 31, 2011, Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. Among it's many provisions of command & control over the U.S. and it's citizens that the Government had entitled itself to, is the permanent revocation of Habeas Corpus - one of the very few cherished foundations that critically defines our Western Democracy. Upon reviewing the NDAA/2012, Ramsay Clark stated that "Most Americans do not realize that we are now under military rule." Folks, our country is now in great danger by forces within our own government - uncontrollable and unaccountable, and the intelligence communities' surveillance and spying against it's own citizenry is just the beginning, and part of a much larger program that has been kept from public knowledge.

    "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

    I hope it's not too late!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 9:46pm

    Re:

    Sounds like someone's angry with their hand in the cookie jar.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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