Clap(per) Off?

National_Security_Agency.svgBy GENE HOWINGTON

Since the inception of the Edward Snowden affair, one thing has been manifest.  Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress.  Many have found this behavior unacceptable and have expressed ideas along the lines that Clapper should not only be fired but brought up on charges. While not going so far as to suggest charges, it appears that on Monday politics made for strange bedfellows indeed when Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA), Ted Poe (R-TX), Paul Broun (R-GA), Doug Collins (R-GA), Walter Jones (R-NC) and Alan Grayson (D-FL) sent an open letter to President Obama saying (among other things) that “[t]he continued role of James Clapper as Director of National Intelligence is incompatible with the goal of restoring trust in our security programs and ensuring the highest level of transparency. Director Clapper continues to hold his position despite lying to Congress, under oath, about the existence of bulk data collection programs in March 2013. Asking Director Clapper, and other federal intelligence officials who misrepresented programs to Congress and the courts, to report to you on needed reforms and the future role of government surveillance is not a credible solution.”  Also citing Judge Richard Leon’s ruling in Klayman v. Obama which found the NSA’s bulk data collection practices at odds with the 4th Amendment, the Representatives called the program “Orwellian”, heavily criticized the use of National Security Letters and noted the President failed in his speech of January 17th to address the issue of governmental “exploitation of the Internet through circumvention of encryption.”

Is this kind of open letter a substantive step in forcing real reform of the NSA?  Or is it just politically expedient theater?  What do you think?

Source(s):, Slate, Klayman v. Obama,

About Gene Howington

I write and do other stuff.
This entry was posted in Big Brother, CIA, Civil Liberties, Fascism, Free Speech, NSA, United States. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Clap(per) Off?

  1. Ordinarily, anything Issa supports, I’m against.

  2. Blouise says:

    It’s both and I wish someone had asked me to sign it because I would have.

  3. swarthmoremom says:

    Probably the

  4. swarthmoremom says:

    Properly theater considering who the signers are.

  5. swarthmoremom says:

    It might be the right thing but everyone of these guys including Grayson with his investment scandal has something unsavory going on. That is why it probably will be theater. Did not know much about Poe from Texas so I looked him up and his latest deal is comparing immigrants to grasshoppers.

  6. Tony C. says:

    I assume theater, I could change my mind if something actually happens. But I don’t trust speechifying anymore, I need events to back them up.

  7. Blouise says:


    Did you read Elaine’s latest post on Hannity’s adopt-a-women birth control program over on The Third Post thread … sounds like Poe with his comparing immigrants to grasshoppers would make a great guest.

  8. michael beaton says:

    Seems to me that it is all optics. What really changes if he goes? What changes if he stays, except the shallow point of perception. If it is the case that the citizens’ trust can be purchased as cheap as a single firing, then… that says something as well.
    Best case: he is fired, also prosecuted, and the issues that remain are actually dealt with. Its that last bit that is the hard, and to my mind, the unlikely part.

    Just a coda on that last point : Doubtless many will remember the antecedent to the current NSA issues was the Total Information Awareness initiative. This was dismantled by Congress but simply has been reconstituted as to its basic charter and functions in the current NSA system.

    I don’t put any confidence that what the powers say they will do they will do unless part of the system design has structural elements of verification. You know…. Open government….

  9. Tony C. says:

    Michael Beaton says: What really changes if he goes?

    Perhaps the willingness of the next guy to lie to Congress. Who knows? What would really change if we put banking CEOs in prison for fraud? They would just be replaced by another venal fraud, but there is at least a chance behavior would change if there was an example of punishment.

  10. elainemag46 says:

    James Clapper Suggests Journalists Could Be Edward Snowden’s ‘Accomplices’
    By Michael Calderone
    Posted: 01/29/2014

  11. Blouise says:

    “Snowden claims that he’s won and that his mission is accomplished,” Clapper said.”

    As usual Clapper left out the main points to the “claims he won … mission accomplished” quote. What Snowden actually said was:

    “For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished. I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself. All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed.” (Gellmann, Barton (December 24, 2013). “Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission’s accomplished”)

    Clapper lies to us all the time so I guess he doesn’t think we should have a say in how we are governed which begs the question … Director Clapper, why in the hell are you living in a democracy? Wouldn’t you be happier serving under a more restrictive Totalitarian form of government? It would be so much easier to get rid of the Snowdens and accomplices under a more Authoritarian type of rule and I’m certain if you did a bit of research you could find a country more in keeping with your preference for governing style.

  12. pete9999 says:


    while i personally would have no problems offering director clappers services to china, i don’t believe he would care for the mispronunciation of his name.

  13. Blouise says:

    lol – like the singing waiters in A Christmas Story

  14. Juris says:

    I have lost all hope for any real reform in this country, reform that is a benefit to the common good that is. Is anything done in Washington not theater?

  15. Pingback: You Can’t Have Democracy and NSA | Flowers For Socrates

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