Two Top Intelligence Officials, Both Of Whom Admitted To Lying In The Past, Now Try To Rewrite History And Deny The Lies

from the don't-get-dizzy-from-all-that-spin dept

Apparently the US intelligence community has decided that they should start trying to totally rewrite the history of two of its top officials directly lying to Congress. First up: Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper. This lie is the famous one, in which while testifying before Congress, Senator Ron Wyden engaged in this exchange:
Wyden: Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?

Clapper: No sir.

Wyden: It does not?

Clapper: Not wittingly. There are cases where they could, inadvertently perhaps, collect—but not wittingly.
At first, Clapper denied lying, saying he merely misunderstood the question, and thought it was about "voyeuristically" poring through emails. But the question is pretty explicit: "any type of data at all." Later, Clapper changed his story to claim that he did understand the question, but was taken off guard by it and gave "the least untruthful answer" he could. At that point, Wyden pointed out that he had actually given Clapper the questions a day earlier and then reached out to his office after to confirm that his answers were accurate, leaving Clapper plenty of opportunity to correct his error -- but Clapper did not. At that point, Clapper finally admitted he had lied and gave a semi-apology to Wyden, saying: "mistakes will happen, and when I make one, I correct it."

Except, now, over a year later, Clapper is back to denying that he lied. Before a "friendly" audience of defense and intelligence contractors (one of the questions to him started out, "You have a very supportive private sector in front of you..."), Clapper again pretended that he never lied to Congress at all. Even worse, he did so while introducing new "principles of professional ethics" for the intelligence community, and arguing that he did so because of the awful situation he endured when he was falsely accused of lying:
“When I got accused of lying to congress because of a mistake ... I had to answer on the spot about a specific classified program in a general, unsecure setting.”
Except, almost none of that is true. It wasn't on the spot. Wyden gave him the questions a day earlier. He didn't have to answer the question (before and since that questioning, Clapper and others have responded to nearly identical questions by saying they could only give details in a classified setting). And, again, Wyden gave Clapper a chance to correct the answer via a letter, and Clapper stood by the original letter. In other words, he lied. He flat out lied. And then he stood by it afterwards when he had a chance to correct the lie. And now he's lying about the lying. Oh, and as for the new "ethics" principles? 1) mission; 2) truth; 3) lawfulness; 4) integrity; 5) stewardship; 6) excellence; and 7) diversity.

And just to add to this mess, Clapper also claimed that the intelligence community has not been shown to have violated the law. That's also flat out false. Both a federal judge and the federal government's privacy and civil liberties oversight board (PCLOB) found the program unconstitutional and illegal.

Moving on, we've got CIA director John Brennan. After the big mess with Senator Dianne Feinstein accusing the CIA of spying on Senate staffers, Brennan tried to deny it (while his denials more or less confirmed the facts). However, he specifically told reporters:
"Let me assure you the CIA was in no way spying on [the Senate Intelligence Committee] or the Senate."
He also claimed that "when the facts come out on this," those who claimed that there was "spying" by the CIA "will be proved wrong." Fast forward a few months and the CIA's Inspector General confirmed everything in Feinstein's story, leading Brennan to apologize to Feinstein. In fact, the full CIA report revealed that the spying was even worse than Feinstein initially detailed.

And... guess what? Brennan is now denying he lied. At the very same conference he pulled a "who, me?" routine:
"Thwart the investigation? Hacking in? We did not."
Note that he's parsing words carefully. He's focusing on "thwarting the investigation" and "hacking" in -- though that depends on your definition of hacking. Under the DOJ's definition, what the CIA did was clearly hacking. It's why Senators Wyden and Udall asked Brennan about whether or not the US hacking statute, the CFAA, applied to the CIA. Because the CIA clearly was unauthorized to access the Senate staffers' network, based on a previous fight with the Senate Intelligence Committee, as detailed by Feinstein when she revealed the details:
Per an exchange of letters in 2009, then-Vice Chairman Bond, then-Director Panetta, and I agreed in an exchange of letters that the CIA was to provide a “stand-alone computer system” with a “network drive” “segregated from CIA networks” for the committee that would only be accessed by information technology personnel at the CIA—who would “not be permitted to” “share information from the system with other [CIA] personnel, except as otherwise authorized by the committee.”
Yet, now Brennan is twisting the story, to say that there was no hacking because they were the CIA's computers all along:
On Thursday, he pointed out the computers technically belonged to the CIA, even though they had been partitioned to create private work space for the Senate staffers.

There was more hairsplitting when he explained his apology. “I apologized then to them for any improper access that was done, despite the fact that we didn’t have a memorandum of understanding.”
Again, that directly contradicts reality. We'll see if Feinstein decides to respond to all of this, but Senator Wyden already has with a bit of internet slang in this hilarious tweet:
If you can't see it, that's Wyden's press office linking to one of these stories, saying "smh" which is internet shorthand for "shaking my head."
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Filed Under: cia, dianne feinstein, james clapper, john brennan, lies, nsa, odni, ron wyden, senate, spying, surveillance, torture report


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  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 19 Sep 2014 @ 7:49am

    The one thing I walked away from History class is that it's all written to cover up the truth.

    If you want the truth about history, you either have to have been there yourself or speak to Shirley McClaine.

    She was Cleopatra, after all.

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

  • identicon
    mcinsand, 19 Sep 2014 @ 8:02am

    I think you meant 'poring'

    >> "voyeuristically" pouring through emails.

    I think you meant 'poring,' although they seem to be pouring all of our private data into their servers.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2014 @ 8:08am

    he could say he was hitler reborn and no one would do anything about it

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2014 @ 8:19am

    ah ha ha!!!!

    This is funnie!

    An no one will hold their congress critters responsible. Every lying asshole is going to stay right the fuck where they are.

    Keep voting R or D... its a winning combination!

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

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 19 Sep 2014 @ 8:24am

    You know what they say...

    Liars gonna lie.

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

  • identicon
    Michael, 19 Sep 2014 @ 8:51am

    Clapper: Not wittingly. There are cases where they could, inadvertently perhaps, collect—but not wittingly

    He is witless, so I can see where he is coming from here.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2014 @ 9:06am

    John Brennan and James Clapper are failing to convey an image of truth or integrity. If anything they're reinforcing the image of Spies being sneaky liars who will stab you in the back the first chance they get.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2014 @ 9:07am

    On Thursday, he pointed out the computers technically belonged to the CIA, even though they had been partitioned to create private work space for the Senate staffers.


    Wait , They technically belong to the American taxpayers , you were just put in place to look after them.

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

  • identicon
    eltopo71, 19 Sep 2014 @ 9:40am

    But surely...

    ...they wouldn't be lying *now*? /s

    It's funny how it's become a matter of course for officials to perjure themselves even in high-profile, publicized cases. And we're supposed to trust these same officials with all our communications? Cut them off at the knees by using TOR for everything!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2014 @ 10:13am

    Who's trying to pull a rickroll?

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 19 Sep 2014 @ 11:02am

    Cover your ass...

    Isn't Clapper the exemplary ass-coverer? I assumed that everything he says is to cover his own posterior about what he's done for which he might get persecuted.

    Still, knowing he lies, for whatever reason, it amazes me that he still has a shred of plausibility.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2014 @ 11:55am

    Job-hunting

    The public and Congress are not the intended audience. He has to do this. He has to demonstrate to private industry & the usual contracting firms that he will fit right in when he exits and re-enters the revolving door. Psycopaths and liars earn big bucks.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2014 @ 1:10pm

    "At that point, Clapper finally admitted he had lied and gave a semi-apology to Wyden, saying: "mistakes will happen, and when I make one, I correct it.""

    Lying is a liars way of correcting a mistake.

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

  • icon
    Stan (profile), 19 Sep 2014 @ 1:28pm

    Clapper's next lie

    What will James Clapper's next explanation be?

    He wasn't really lying to Congress because... he had his fingers crossed behind his back.

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

  • identicon
    TestPilotDummy, 19 Sep 2014 @ 4:46pm

    They're oath breaking puppets

    These oath breaking puppets were only following oath breaking directions.

    About time the people realized what real treason is.
    About time the people realized what real conspiracy is.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Sep 2014 @ 5:19am

    Principles: M T L I S E D

    Since we know that truth is not really a part of the mix, can't we just leave out the "T" and acronymize this in true gov't fashion as "MISLED" or "SLIMED"?

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

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 20 Sep 2014 @ 12:22pm

    Pearl Harbor History Lesson

    Rewrite History!

    Well why not. Look at how many of the events that make up US history are actually rewrites designed to protect the guilty - and note please that ALL of them are still being taught as truth.

    It will work just fine. Ten years form now, Clapper will be seen historically as a pillar of honesty, bravely performing a difficult job under severe duress, caused by nasty evil men who were trying to make him make a mistake.

    On the other hand, Mister Wyden might end up becoming the villain in this newly minted (hi)story.

    ---

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

  • icon
    nasch (profile), 21 Sep 2014 @ 8:03am

    Mission

    If mission comes first, then the rest of the "principles" don't really mean much.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 21 Sep 2014 @ 2:50pm

      Re: Mission

      I was wondering if I was the only one to think that.

      If they're listed in order of priority, then that means that 'the mission' takes priority over, among other things, 'truth', 'lawfulness', and 'integrity', and given that seems to be the case when talking about prior NSA actions, where 'the mission' is the only thing that matters, and truth and lawfulness can go hang, I'm guessing that that is indeed the case.

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


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