The Intercept Publishes A Post From James Clapper's Classified Blog... the 'Intercept'

from the stupid-spoiled-Americans-and-their-rights dept

The Intercept, a site that regularly publishes classified documents, reports that the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, also publishes a classified internal blog -- called (serendipitously enough) the "Intercept."

It even offers a secret RSS feed so analysts will never miss a post. Clapper’s Intercept blog has no relationship to The Intercept, except that he hates pretty much everything we stand for.

In a blog post [PDF] obtained by The Intercept, Clapper responds to a redacted "constituent" in Nevada who -- two months prior to the first Snowden leak -- wants to reassure the Intelligence Community that Americans have far too many rights.

“If the american [sic] people are not willing to release some freedoms, they cannot blame the IC when they can’t stop” domestic terror attacks because of the intelligence agencies “having their hands tied by Law [sic] & policy,” the “constituent” wrote. He adds that Americans “cannot have your cake and eat it too,” and then offers what has become a dangerous cliche in the post-Snowden mentality of the intelligence community: “So if one has nothing to hide why would a little government watching for mass protection be such a big question.” The letter ends: “WE SUPPORT YOU.”

In his response to this outpouring of love for government overreach, James Clapper -- perhaps feeling he was writing for the "home team" -- dispenses with niceties about honest government employees doing their damndest to protect American civil liberties while still keeping the government safe from international terrorism.

Instead, he becomes an echo chamber.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your letter… I say this on behalf of all the women and men in the Intelligence Community. In my view you have very accurately described the issue that the Boston Bombings represent! Just how small do the Americans want the holes in the security fish net to be?

Clapper has greatly overestimated his affinity with the rank-and-file of the IC, as the comments on his blog post attest.

The first two intelligence people to comment on his post took Clapper, and his “constituent,” to the woodshed. “I think it was inappropriate for DNI Clapper to respond in a way that indicates he agrees with the premise of the writer’s letter, namely, that government must expand its domestic “watching” and the people must give up “some ‘rights’ in the interest of the greater good,” one IC commenter posted. “The head of the US Intelligence Community — the business of which is foreign intelligence —should not be taking sides on matters of domestic intelligence policy.”

Another commenter wrote that, like Clapper, he agreed with the letter’s author about “the fact that it is impossible to defend 100% against these kinds of attacks given the restrictions placed on America’s security forces and the freedom and range of targets enjoyed by the attackers.” However, this commenter, who went by the name Wormy, warned against being “too quick to release your freedoms and “rights” in the name of security.”

The head of the intelligence community is at odds with his own underlings. Clapper and Gen. Keith Alexander have long been fans of unrestricted mass surveillance that helps the agency pursue its "collect it all" goals. Clapper has lied about the existence of surveillance programs and followed those lies up with spirited arguments against any narrowing of their scope.

Clapper apparently believes Americans can get by with fewer rights in exchange for security he can't possibly guarantee. And all to save the nation from something less likely to kill Americans than lightning strikes.

On the other hand, if these two commenters are more indicative of the attitudes of the bulk of the NSA's workforce, then Clapper's assertions about analysts' concern for protecting American civil liberties have been accurate. Of course, they would be accurate despite Clapper, not because of him. If the general NSA attitude was more aligned with his views on the rights v. security debate, Clapper's statements would have been identical. They just would have been less factual.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 16 Dec 2016 @ 9:03am

    "Act now, for a limited time only you can get one Safety for the low price of one Freedom!"

    Another commenter wrote that, like Clapper, he agreed with the letter’s author about “the fact that it is impossible to defend 100% against these kinds of attacks given the restrictions placed on America’s security forces and the freedom and range of targets enjoyed by the attackers.”

    If they had no restrictions whatsoever they still couldn't guarantee 100% safety, and the mere act of gutting the rights of the public would do far more damage than any unofficial terrorist could ever dream of.

    They're putting forwards a false dichotomy, where you either have rights or safety, and if the public just gives up enough rights then finally the mythical 'perfect safety/security' can be achieved, and that's simply not how it works.

    Beyond the fact that some prices are simply too high to pay, it's impossible to 'defend 100% against these kinds of attacks', so they should stop wasting time on that idea and focus on doing the best they can with the tools they have and within the limits those pesky 'rights' impose on their actions.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2016 @ 11:05am

      Re: "Act now, for a limited time only you can get one Safety for the low price of one Freedom!"

      it's impossible to 'defend 100% against these kinds of attacks'

      I disagree. They could always push the concept of security to it's logical extreme: simply beat the baddies to the punch and kill off every last American; then, technically, not a single one of us could be harmed in a terrorist attack.

      Why do I have the weird feeling that somewhere in the IC, this idea has been considered as more than just a bad joke in poor taste?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2016 @ 11:12am

        Re: Re: "Act now, for a limited time only you can get one Safety for the low price of one Freedom!"

        In high school debate back in the day where the topic was to put forth a plan to reduce the use of weapons of mass destruction, I toyed with the idea of running a plan for the US to launch all of it's nukes to exterminate the entire human race so that in the long run many fewer weapons of mass destruction would be used.

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

        • icon
          Ninja (profile), 16 Dec 2016 @ 11:17am

          Re: Re: Re: "Act now, for a limited time only you can get one Safety for the low price of one Freedom!"

          Even if you exterminate all the rest of the world (and by you I mean any country) and manage to clean up your own land from immigrants you will still not be secure. Because somebody will disagree with you and will break things if you refuse to listen.

          Instead we could teach tolerance to our kids and let the seed slowly bloom on future generations. It's happened before, that's why we don't burn people accusing them of witchcraft and homosexuality and when some morons do we as a society frown on it.

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

          • icon
            Eldakka (profile), 17 Dec 2016 @ 9:18pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "Act now, for a limited time only you can get one Safety for the low price of one Freedom!"

            AC said:

            exterminate the entire human race

            Therefore there wouldn't be an "own land" left either ;)

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

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 16 Dec 2016 @ 11:13am

      Re: "Act now, for a limited time only you can get one Safety for the low price of one Freedom!"

      Even with full, unrestricted freedom to do as they please they would still fail to offer 100% security. Either because it wouldn't be financially viable (let's not forget how thin the constant global presence and wars are stretching the country finances) or because it isn't remotely possible. Even North Korea, the dream of every dictator, can't prevent some leakage to what they deem to be 'criminal' behavior.

      No freedom should be exchanged for security. None.

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

      • icon
        Seegras (profile), 19 Dec 2016 @ 2:29am

        Re: Re: "Act now, for a limited time only you can get one Safety for the low price of one Freedom!"

        > No freedom should be exchanged for security.

        Good news: You can't. Because privacy is paramount to security.

        Bad news: Every time your freedom gets curtailed, you also get less secure, in spite of what your government tells you.

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

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 16 Dec 2016 @ 11:31am

      Re: "Act now, for a limited time only you can get one Safety for the low price of one Freedom!"

      And completely disregarding the complete lack of evidence for all the expanded intrusions from any agency having any positive effect whatsoever on security.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2016 @ 11:41am

        Re: Re: "Act now, for a limited time only you can get one Safety for the low price of one Freedom!"

        Providing evidence is a security risk. We must sacrifice proof for safety.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 16 Dec 2016 @ 9:38pm

          Pick up that can

          A good citizen is a compliant citizen. Only a criminal would even think to question the government or it's claims, as the government is in a much better position to know what's best for the public, so if they say that what they are doing is good and working then it's nigh treasonous to so much as suggest that that might not be the case or ask for evidence.

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

    • icon
      afn29129 (profile), 16 Dec 2016 @ 10:59am

      Re: In other news

      I'll only rejoice when the two are convicted and actually behind bars. Yes. This is signs of hope but it isn't over until the cell doors clang.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2016 @ 11:41am

      Re: In other news

      The wheels of justice are extremely slow. But when they do start turning, the result is a drawn out torture of its victims that corresponds to the number of problematic incidents. Steele and Hansmeier is only facing the comfortable part of getting imprisoned. As soon as they are convicted of criminal activity they will be forced to face the real problems...

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

  • identicon
    JustShutUpAndObey, 16 Dec 2016 @ 11:16am

    The oath we took

    Unless Clapper took a different oath than the one the rest of us took, he swore to defend the Constitution, not some imaginary one to defend the American people. His oath to defend the Constitution is the one he and all others must be held accountable to.

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

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 16 Dec 2016 @ 11:42am

      Re: The oath we took

      It's not the oath but the game rules they had long adopted to ensure the continuity of their own agency while pretending it is about protecting the continuity of government while pretending that, in turn, is about protecting the nation and the people. It's what got us government nuke shelters and how to pay your taxes after we fucked up so bad that we allowed a nuclear war to occur plans. It's why any means necessary to supposedly defend the ideals we hold so dear, upon which the country was theoretically founded, are totes ok, and violating principles and people in the name of defending them is completely normal.

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

    • identicon
      Ed in Moscow, 16 Dec 2016 @ 11:50am

      Re: The oath we took

      His oath to defend the Constitution is the one he and all others must be held accountable to.

      I tried sticking to that oath. Not well received, believe it or not.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2016 @ 6:46am

      Re: The oath we took

      Words are cheap

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

  • identicon
    ShakingMyHead, 16 Dec 2016 @ 11:39am

    It'sNotTheCommonPeople

    This all stinks to high heaven for the simple reason that these people claim to represent the people but the people don't seem to feel that these players represent them.

    Around the world citizens don't feel their representatives care about them, from South Korea marching in the hundreds of thousands (at least they take to the streets unlike in the U.S. where they blog to feel good about themselves), the whole Syria thing started when a man set himself on fire, in Russia where speaking out lands you either dead or in jail or China where trying to get past the great firewall means you simply disappear to end up as an unwilling organ donor (or so the internet claims).

    This is all a game to those who 'claim' power and we're all unwilling participants forced to live with the results of their actions taken on 'our behalf'.

    I trust 'the intercept" as much as I trust Clapper, zero percent. Greenwald is linked to Wikileaks which chose what information to leak before an election, zero trust... These guys are acting on their own just like the officials in government, they aren't elected and act on our behalf as judge and jury, that's not how it's supposed to work.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2016 @ 11:53am

      Re: It'sNotTheCommonPeople

      > Greenwald is linked to Wikileaks which chose what information to leak before an election

      Maybe Clintonites should take a step back and consider the fact that it's a really fucking stupid idea to keep trying to destroy the credibility of an organization like Wikileaks right before Donald Trump becomes president.

      We get it, you're mad that the evil misogynist racist Russians time-traveled to the past and forced Hillary Clinton and her campaign to engage in a bunch of questionable behaviors so that they could leak information about them in the future and stop her from becoming president... but get over it.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2016 @ 2:47pm

      Re: It'sNotTheCommonPeople

      Good idea, Clintonians, let's try to completely discredit the people and organizations willing to call out corruption in government, just in time for a Trump presidency.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2016 @ 2:51pm

      Re: It'sNotTheCommonPeople

      > I trust 'the intercept" as much as I trust Clapper, zero percent. Greenwald is linked to Wikileaks which chose what information to leak before an election, zero trust

      Good idea, Clintonians, let's attack the few people and organizations we have calling out corruption in government, just in time for a Trump presidency -- when we're going to need them the most.

      The Trump administration thanks you in advance.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2016 @ 2:53pm

        Re: Re: It'sNotTheCommonPeople

        ..and also thanks you for your defense of Obama's expansion of mass surveillance, drone warfare, whistleblower prosecution, and general opacity.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2016 @ 11:49am

    clapper: n. - one who produces or transmits...

    Clapper’s Intercept blog, also known as "The Clap," has no relationship to The Intercept but is deemed by many to be as desirable as gonorrhea.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2016 @ 12:25pm

    Q: Have you ever done anything wrong in your entire life?

    Clapper: Not wittingly.

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

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 16 Dec 2016 @ 3:59pm

    Fractions of Americans and Their Defective Dystopia

    “If the american [sic] people are not willing to release some freedoms, they cannot blame the IC when they can’t stop” domestic terror attacks because of the intelligence agencies “having their hands tied by Law [sic] & policy,” the “constituent” wrote. He adds that Americans “cannot have your cake and eat it too,” and then offers what has become a dangerous cliche in the post-Snowden mentality of the intelligence community: “So if one has nothing to hide why would a little government watching for mass protection be such a big question.” The letter ends: “WE SUPPORT YOU.”

    Dear loser (aka constituent) if you seek total security you can find it in prison simply request to be placed in solitary confinement.

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

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 16 Dec 2016 @ 4:39pm

    Is Freedom Worth Dying For?

    Think of those who sacrificed their lives in order that we might enjoy the freedoms we have today. Are we going to give up those freedoms because we feel a little fearful that our own lives may be impacted in some way? Do we value their sacrifices so lightly?

    The terrorists want to take away our freedoms. Are we going to save them the trouble by doing their job for them?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2016 @ 2:35am

      Re: Is Freedom Worth Dying For?

      The terrorists want to take away our freedoms. Are we going to save them the trouble by doing their job for them?

      We're doing national security ironically. God help us, we're ruled by hipsters.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2016 @ 6:53am

      Re: Is Freedom Worth Dying For?

      Thank you for your service, now shut up about how poorly you are being treated by your own government, who you served sacrificing your life, limbs, family.

      Vets are getting tired of this bullshit.

      If we can not support them upon their return, let's not send them in the first place.

      Troops are to be used for defense of the country, not some corporate take over of a third world country.

      The terrorist boogie man is old and tired, its usefulness is nearing its end. Time to find a new boogie man to scare little children into doing what the overlords demand.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 17 Dec 2016 @ 9:19am

        Re: Re: Is Freedom Worth Dying For?

        It's been a few decades, and with the Russia stuff getting so much attention maybe they can bring back the good old Red Scare?

        'Have you re-affirmed your loyalty to the Homeland in defense against the encroaching Red Menace today? Remember, communist sympathizers are everywhere, report any suspicious activity such as questioning the government or it's agencies to the police or government immediately.'

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

        • identicon
          Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 17 Dec 2016 @ 2:03pm

          Re: maybe they can bring back the good old Red Scare?

          Red is the Republican colour, isn’t it?

          Wonder why...

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

          • identicon
            Wendy Cockcroft, 20 Dec 2016 @ 5:48am

            Re: Re: maybe they can bring back the good old Red Scare?

            Erm, cultural appropriation?!

            Jokes aside, the Hillarybots have been flogging the Red Scare horse corpse to shreds for weeks now. At first I was like, "Whut?!" It was such a switch, and ridiculously illiberal of them.

            Now the joke is old. Shut up, moonbats, you lost because your candidate did not inspire the confidence of the American people — not even for a protest vote like Trumpy McTrumpface.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2016 @ 12:35pm

      Re: Is Freedom Worth Dying For?

      "The terrorists want to take away our freedoms. Are we going to save them the trouble by doing their job for them?"

      They have already won.

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

  • identicon
    Darkhog, 17 Dec 2016 @ 2:44am

    You could say

    that the Clapper's blog was... intercepted.


    YEEEEEEAAAAH!....

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

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 17 Dec 2016 @ 4:03am

    Funny how they keep creating "fake" domestic terror attacks to justify the removal of American's rights.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Home Cooking Is Killing Restaurants
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.