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. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 18 Feb 2014 @ 1:13pm

    He really doesn't understand at all

    "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."

    If he had the slightest idea, he wouldn't have brought up airport security as a comparison point. First, the ONLY reason that people -- just barely -- tolerate that nonsense is because if the conceit that if you're really worried about it, you can choose not to get on a plane.

    I suppose that technically you can choose to no longer communicate and avoid NSA collections, but I doubt if very many people would consider communicating an optional activity.

    This is just another variation of the "you don't care if Google/Facebook/whoever does it, why should you care if we do?" Lots of people care a lot and don't use those services as a result. The argument is complete bullshit. It falls completely flat until we can opt out of NSA surveillance.

    That Clapper and supporters don't get this simple baffles me. But I think they fully understand and are just doing what they do best: lying their asses off.

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