James Clapper: We Totes Shoulda Told You About Section 215

from the does-not-compute dept

Ever since Edward Snowden leaked information about the massive government surveillance being done both domestically and abroad by the NSA, the refrain that such leaks have put people in danger and harmed national security have been ongoing. Supporters of the NSA have specifically noted that leaks about section 215, the PATRIOT Act section that the NSA believes gives it the power to collect all telco traffic records, will prove to be absolutely catastrophic to our safety. Spy bigwig James Clapper himself wrote to Ron Wyden that section 215 leaks "will do significant damage to the intelligence community's ability to protect the nation."

Now, in a move that will surprise nobody, since Clapper is a proven liar, he has reversed course and says that the government should have told the American people about section 215.

“What did us in here, what worked against us was this shocking revelation,” he said, referring to the first disclosures from Snowden. If the program had been publicly introduced in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, most Americans would probably have supported it. “I don’t think it would be of any greater concern to most Americans than fingerprints. Well people kind of accept that because they know about it. But had we been transparent about it and say here’s one more thing we have to do as citizens for the common good, just like we have to go to airports two hours early and take our shoes off, all the other things we do for the common good, this is one more thing.”
Unbelievable. So the very same disclosure that turned Edward Snowden into a traitor and was going to do so much harm to American security is something Clapper says he should have done in the first place? With such an admission, where is the backlash against the continued prosecution of Snowden in the court of public opinion? Where is the embarrassed apology for lying to Americans about the dangers of the disclosures made previously? Lies, I might add, designed to scare the living hell out of people and chill speech, disclosures, and journalism.

I typically try to find some humor in every situation, but this kind of flip-flopping is bullshit on a level hitherto unseen. The credibility gap between Clapper and his ilk versus Edward Snowden might as well be the Grand Canyon. I'm a bit amazed the man has been allowed to keep his job, never mind his still being allowed to make media statements.

Filed Under: edward snowden, james clapper, nsa, privacy, section 215

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  1. identicon
    FM Hilton, 18 Feb 2014 @ 2:12pm

    What is he thinking?

    "If the program had been publicly introduced in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, most Americans would probably have supported it.I don’t think it would be of any greater concern to most Americans than fingerprints..."

    I don't think so. We were furious when the NY Times finally decided to allow us to know about the wiretapping that Bush did with Verizon (after about 18 months of stalling). We don't like liars, and don't like being lied to.

    From a Salon article about this very event and it's aftermath:

    Link: http://www.salon.com/2010/04/01/nsa_4/

    "In December, 2005, The New York Times revealed that the Bush administration had been doing for years exactly that which the law unambiguously said was a felony: eavesdropping on the electronic communications of Americans (telephone calls and emails) without warrants. We knew then it was a crime. Three federal judges have now concluded that it was illegal. And yet not only do we do nothing about it, but we stand by as the Obama administration calls this criminal program a vital “state secret” and desperately tries to protect it and the lawbreakers from being subject to the rule of law. This decision may make it more difficult for the Obama administration to hide behind sweeping secrecy claims in the future, but it won’t negate the fact that we have decided that our leading political officials are completely free to commit crimes while in power and to do so with total impunity."

    You, Mr. Clapper are a liar and obviously delusional. We don't like being spied on, or listened to-even when catastrophic events like 9/11 happen.

    You seem to forget that there were a hell of a lot of Americans who did not want the Patriot Act done, either.

    I think it's time you retired from office, either voluntarily or otherwise. You're no longer useful or wanted-except to be tried for federal eavesdropping laws that have been broken.

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