The Clapper Rings the Bell

Clapperby Jerry Richardson9/28/14
James Clapper, the US Director of National Intelligence, who was not completely truthful when he testified before Congress; is now grumbling about the difficulties of keeping our nation secure:

[September 21, 2014] Noting that criticism of surveillance programs forced the government to “throttle back,” he told The Washington Post that means “we are accepting more risk.”…”We are supposed to keep the country safe, predict anticipatory intelligence, with no risk, and no embarrassment if revealed, and without a scintilla of jeopardy to privacy of any domestic person or foreign person. We call that ‘immaculate collection.’” —James Clapper

In this assessment he may be correct.

Clapper’s description of current intelligence gathering as “immaculate collection,” is cute; but when we unravel it, I think it suggests an unacceptable view of the US Constitution.

In context, Clapper’s is saying, with his two-word term, “immaculate collection”, that in order to collect essential intelligence, US intelligence agencies are being forced to operate in a mode that is “accepting more risk”—being more prone to miss threats—but at the same time the intelligence agencies are being expected to protect the American people with “no embarrassment if revealed”; and with no “jeopardy to privacy” of anyone.

But what is the cause of “accepting more risk”?

This is an important question. Is the cause due to inappropriate obstacles (perhaps unnecessary “red-tape”); or is the cause due to the necessity of complying with the US Constitution? There is a world of difference, at least to Conservatives. If the problem is unimportant obstacles then by all means, Congress should removal the obstacles.

But, I believe that Clapper’s problem is the same as his boss’s (Barack Obama’s) problem: I think he is feeling hamstrung, as he should, by that fuddy-duddy old document, the US Constitution. I’m sorry—not.

James Clapper’s job is to manage the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). This Office is located within the Executive Branch of the US Government, under direct control of the President, and it is intended to be the integrator of US intelligence efforts:

The U.S. Intelligence Community is a coalition of 17 agencies and organizations, including the ODNI, within the Executive Branch that work both independently and collaboratively to gather and analyze the intelligence necessary to conduct foreign relations and national security activities. —US Intelligence Community

I am sure the job of managing the ODNI is a difficult one; but I, for one, don’t propose that we jettison the Constitution and its Bill of Rights just to make James Clapper’s job easier. If the job is too difficult for him, let him resign. Otherwise, let him buckle down and resolve to collect necessary intelligence in a constitutionally “immaculate” (lawful) manner. His grousing seems to be an admission, on his part, of agencies not collecting intelligence in a constitutional manner in the past. Furthermore Clapper has not helped his case by his less than completely truthful responses to Congress, under oath, about how the National Security Agency (NSA) has had an on-going program of collecting American’s private email communications.

Clapper, as with many of Obama’s appointees, doesn’t seem to get-it when it comes to the often irreversible effects of broken-trust—the inevitable result of withholding truth that is due. Breaking-trust is much like ringing a bell—an irreversible process.

In other words—pun intended—even the Clapper can’t un-ring a bell.

Clapper did not tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth as required by his oath when he testified before Congress. He withheld truth owed to the representatives of the American people, hence indirectly he withheld truth to the American people; and now he wants to use them for a scapegoat?

[September 18, 2014] Clapper said he misspoke in the Senate hearing last year when he said the U.S. was not collecting Americans’ data. But documents leaked by Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA), later showed that the agency had been gathering and storing phone records for years.

Clapper’s explanations for his answer have shifted over time. At first he defended his comments and said he meant the [to] say the NSA was not going through Americans’ email. Later, he said that his response was “the least untruthful” he could give Congress. Finally, he wrote a letter to Congress last June saying his answer was “clearly erroneous” and said that he had been thinking about the substance of the phone calls rather than the “to” and “from” information, which is known as metadata.
Clapper says he misspoke

When are these “national leaders” going to get-it; the American people do not like to have the government meddling-around in their private communications, especially without a warrant; and more especially when the meddling is being overseen by someone who conveniently “misspeaks”?

The Obama-appointed head of the ODNI, following the time he admittedly “misspoke” to Congress, audaciously spouted a sarcastic gripe about being forced to perform “immaculate collection” of intelligence—another no-shame Obama appointee.

He should instead be directing his ire at the administration he is part-of, the Obama administration; and his admonition should be: “We (those of us in this administration) must stop the politically-driven “narcissistic dissemination” of classified and useful-to-our-enemies information; our to be more blunt he could just quote former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates when he told the blabbering Obama National Security Team after the raid to kill Ben Laden: “Shut the F— up”!

I know that I’m probably swimming upstream here, but I’m glad that many of the American people are willing to trade some security for truth and honesty, preferably delivered with candor—for without truth and honesty, from our government, there is no freedom; and no security.

 “The Constitution’s basic purpose is to protect against undue government intrusion into the lives of citizens,” said Senator Lee, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The constitutional right to due process is fundamental to individual liberty, and we must not sacrifice this right in the pursuit of perceived greater security. Without freedom there is no security.” —Senator Mike Lee

Yes, we obviously need the national security that only top-shelf intelligence gathering can provide; but the gathering-activities should not be disguised with politically-motivated deception.

Total transparency is obviously not the answer; we should not tell our enemies how we operate or how we plan to operate; or what we don’t plan to do, as Barack Obama so often does; but our governmental officials should tell the truth, especially under oath, to Congress; and hence to the American people.

So how does a government maintain lawful-accountability and necessary secrecy at the same time; since according to people as supposedly “knowledgeable” as James Clapper, they seem to be in conflict?

First and foremost, elected officials simply must NOT play politics with national security secrets. Obama and his administration have set a new and dangerous precedent for doing exactly that:

The elite SEAL Team Six is a special operations unit whose actions are supposed to be classified. They uphold a strict code of secrecy. As a result, it is not publicly known which specific SEAL Team Six members were involved in the killing of the world’s most wanted terrorist, nor how many of those who participated in the raid were on the helicopter that was shot down.

We now know, however, that the elite group and their families were shocked when Vice President Joe Biden publicly identified them on May 3, 2011, two days after the raid. He was speaking at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Washington D.C. at the 50th anniversary of the Atlantic Council, an international affairs think tank. It was a speech laden with praise for the intelligence and military community.

“Let me briefly acknowledge tonight’s distinguished honorees: Adm. Jim Stavridis is a — is the real deal; he could tell you more about and understands the incredible, the phenomenal, the just almost unbelievable capacity of his Navy SEALS and what they did last — last Sunday,” said Mr. Biden.

In that moment, the vice president revealed to the world the name of the unit that had tracked down and killed America’s foremost enemy. Every jihadist seeking to avenge Bin Laden’s death was given a clear target. —What happened to Seal team Six

Political boasting has become a hallmark of the Obama administration; that is on the few occasions when they have actually had anything that resembles something to boast about.

The name-of and the activities of SEAL Team Six are supposed to be classified. This certainly means that they and their activities are not to be talked about in public. But “security rules” just like laws are no obstacle to Obama and his administration, and especially not to big-mouth Biden.

The valorous activities of SEAL Team Six were such a tantalizing plumb for public bragging that the Obama team (represented by Joe Biden) couldn’t refuse. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Godfather’s “offer he can’t refuse”?

The SEAL Team Six accomplishments were a “brag that team Obama couldn’t refuse.”

So brag they did in order to claim credit for an effective military performance—publically crow about how much more secure the US and the world have become under Obama’s Presidency.

Not content with revealing classified information in a low-key, truncated brag; Biden revealed more critical information publically in minutes than a professional spy could have hoped to gather in who-knows-how-long:

Even more astonishing, in that speech, Mr. Biden waxed eloquent on the fact that the whole mission had remained secret prior to the raid.

“And what was even more extraordinary was — and I’m sure former administration officials will appreciate this more than anyone — there was such an absolute, overwhelming desire to accomplish this mission that although for over several months we were in the process of planning it, and there were as many as 16 members of Congress who were briefed on it, not a single, solitary thing leaked. I find that absolutely amazing,” said Mr. Biden. Ironically, he was praising the team’s ability to work in secret while he had just carelessly leaked classified information — arguably one of the greatest leaks in American history.

As a result of the actions “of those brave professionals who tracked and killed Osama Bin Laden,” Mr. Biden said, “the world is a safer place today, not only for the American people but for all people.” Yet, his very words that evening terrified members of SEAL Team Six who had just been betrayed by their government and immediately began to fear for their lives. —What happened to Seal team Six

Yes arguably one of the greatest leaks in American history; and this “leak”; purposefully and publically released by Barack Obama’s Vice President Joe Biden.

And why did this leak occur?

For one primary reason: Obama is, hands-down, the most narcissistic person ever to occupy the White House—I’ll admit there are some other strong contenders. His narcissism drives his continual need to take-credit for anything that appears to succeed, and to scapegoat someone or something for anything that appears to go wrong—hence the constant political-game of blaming Bush, or blaming the Republicans; because things are always going wrong for Obama’s ideologically-misdirected and incompetent administration.

So, instead of keeping his big-mouth shut, Biden played the third most played card in the Obama Administration’s political game: The brag-and-take-credit card. The first is the blame-belongs-elsewhere card; and the second is the race card.

Politicians who play political bragging-games with national security information along with hypocrites, who play semantic games with truth, will never be able to lead this nation to a restoration of America’s lost security; betrayers-of-trust cannot un-ring the bell of covered-up deceit; they must be replaced with honest and truthful leaders. Let’s do some of the replacement this November (2014).

© 2014, Jerry Richardson • (991 views)

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3 Responses to The Clapper Rings the Bell

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    That’s a very nice summation of the techniques used by the Egomaniac-in-Chief to praise himself and seek the adoration of the public. (Of course, this attitude is why a man with fawning press coverage nevertheless resents the press for not being as favorable as he wishes.) You also do a nice job of pointing out why this extreme narcissism is actually harmful to the country at times.

    But it’s also so apt that you discuss the failings of James Clapper right after we had yet another very open jihadist who evidently escaped the attention of the hyper-intrusive NSA before finally going violent (just like the Tsarnaev brothers). But after all, we who are conservative know that when liberals constantly denounce their political enemies as terrorists, it isn’t hard to figure out whom the Obama intelligence organs surveils most intensely.

    • Jerry Richardson says:

      It seems to me that Obama is positioning Clapper to be the fall guy when and if the ISIS “action”, “conflict” whatever Obama decides to call it other than what it is, a war.
      But to paraphrase William S: “I’ve come to bury Clapper not to praise him.”
      In my opinion, Clapper deserves to fall, but not simply to keep Obama from looking bad. He deserves to fall because of his actions that I discussed. He has not been completely truthful with the American people. And, as always, neither has Barack Obama.
      There’s an article in the Daily Beast today (9.28.14) that discusses Obama’s faulting of his spies:

      On ‘60 Minutes,’ the president faulted his spies for failing to predict the rise of ISIS. There’s one problem with that statement: The intelligence analysts did warn about the group.
      Nearly eight months ago, some of President Obama’s senior intelligence officials were already warning that ISIS was on the move. In the beginning of 2014, ISIS fighters had defeated Iraqi forces in Fallujah, leading much of the U.S. intelligence community to assess they would try to take more of Iraq.
      Why Obama Can’t say his Spies Underestimated ISIS

      Clapper has provided Obama a perfect lead-in for blaming him:

      Clapper did tell The Washington Post’s David Ignatius this month that he underestimated the will of the ISIS fighters in Iraq and overestimated the ability of Iraq’s security forces in northern Iraq to counter ISIS. (He also said his analysts warned about the “prowess and capability” of the group.)

      We all know that if Obama perceives that he is looking bad due to his own bad decisions or more likely due to his own indecision; he will quickly look for a scapegoat. Clapper will do nicely.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I must admit to a certain Schadenfreude that one liar is being smeared by another liar. To be fair, Clapper lied to protect Feckless Leader, and Slick Barry lied to protect . . . himself! How Obama.

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