Obama puts James Clapper, who should be in jail, in charge of returning “trust” to NSA spying

Who knew that the perfect man for the job of “maintaining the trust of the people” in NSA spying, was the guy who lied under oath about NSA spying — DNI James Clapper.

From Reason (my emphasis and some reparagraphing everywhere):

President Orders James Clapper to Head NSA Review

When President Obama announced a series of intelligence reforms last Friday he called for the creation of an independent advisory group made up of “outside experts” who will review controversial [NSA] surveillance programs. But based on a memorandum issued today [August 12] by the White House, it’s not clear how independent the effort will be.

The president has directed the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, to establish the “review group” that will be responsible for issuing a report about how surveillance programs “impact our security, our privacy, and our foreign policy.”

The review group is intended in part, as the president said last week, to “maintain the trust of the people” — so why did the president put a man at the center of the spying controversy in charge?

Why indeed?

What were Obama’s choices?

The president (lovable Democrat Barack Obama, in case you haven’t noticed) could have done a couple of things after James Clapper got caught lying to Congress. He could:

Obama lying to Leno: "We don't have a domestic spying program."

Obama lying to Leno: “We don’t have a
domestic spying program.”

1. Indict James Clapper for lying to Congress.

2. Fire James Clapper for lying to Congress.

3. Reward James Clapper for lying to Congress.

4. Reward James Clapper for lying to Congress by putting him in charge of a propaganda effort to help re-sell NSA spying to “the people.”

Looks like Obama chose option 4. How do we know that it’s a propaganda effort? Because James Clapper is not in jail. If Barack Obama wanted to do Thing One to restore the people’s “trust,” he’d return the Executive Branch to rule of law, starting with a perp walk for … James Clapper.

Now you know.

And lest you forget, the NSA is the Pentagon. The propaganda blitz you’re about to be subjected to, of which this review group is part, is Pentagon psyops. They have a big professional department for that. (Obama’s wording itself is a tell. The first thing crisis-management pros teach you say is “maintain” trust when the problem is to “rebuild” it. See? The pros are already working this.)

What does this say about Obama?

It’s not pretty. I think I’ll let Ian Welsh take it from here, and just make my exit. He has a good bottom line, and I can’t improve on it. Welsh:

The Beauty of Obama’s Clapper Appointment

As you’ve probably heard, Obama has appointed James Clapper (the man who lied under oath to Congress about NSA spying) to review NSA spying.

I am in awe, few things have impressed me this deeply.

This isn’t just a middle finger to everyone … who is against blanket surveillance (aka. the majority of Americans), it is Obama saying “Kiss My Ass.” …

More at the link. Now you know.


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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53 Responses to “Obama puts James Clapper, who should be in jail, in charge of returning “trust” to NSA spying”

  1. Manuel Rodriguez says:


  2. DrDignity says:

    Clapper is small fry compared to the war criminals of the past 2 administrations. For any reader who has been asleep since 9-11, here’s a summary: attack on the sovereign nation of Iraq based on a filthy fear-mongering pr campaign with no sign of weapons of mass destruction, invasion of Afghanistan, signature drone strikes, torture as seen at Abu Ghraib, the suspension of habeas corpus as shamefully displayed at Guantanamo & other extraordinary rendition sites, the power grab of the Executive branch with no Congressional oversight with capabilities & targets to murder for no reason or a reason, the suspension of Amendments 1, 4 & 8 because of “state secrets,” the super surveillance apparatus that has the capability of storing every e-mail, bank account or computer transmissions from anywhere in the world without the consent of US citizens & other nations. Richard Nixon’s small spy enterprise cost him his presidency. The egregious crimes occurring now don’t even get a collective blink. For these reasons, it is necessary to vote out every R & D by instituting a third party candidate like a Green or a WikiLeaks party like in Australia. This means no blood money by ruling elites like US & multinational corporations & the super wealthy with no involvement of Citizens United. In this polycracy, all the candidates are bought & paid for servants, including POTUS, SCOTUS & the US Congress. Clapper is nothing compared to what’s above & below.He’s just a paid liar.

  3. Badgerite says:

    You cannot charge a person with perjury when what you are asking them to reveal is classified. You have two legal obligations extant at once. That is what Clapper meant when he said that he was trying to give the least dishonest answer. And Wyden wouldn’t have asked the question if he didn’t already know the answer. Appropriate members of Congress had been briefed in closed door sessions. So quit with the lying BS. He wasn’t lying to deceive Wyden or other member of Congress charged with oversight. He was lying in a public session to avoid revealing classified information that Congress had already been briefed on. It was not an attempt to deceive Congress. It was an attempt to abide by the classification laws.

    Not to mention, this story of NSA collection of phone metadata was extensively reported on in 2006 and debated in Congress. See USA TODAY article of 5/11/2006 entitled, ‘NSA Has Massive Database of Americans calls. Section 215 of the Patriot Act (statutory authority for collection of phone metadata) was amended in 2006 to include a limitation on such records collection in that the information collected had to be relevant to an investigation.

    Kevin Drum brings up a good point in Mother Jones:

    “There is something that has never wrung quite true to me about all this. Congress knew all about the bulk collection of telephone records in 2006. It was big news. If they truly meant to rein it in, there was nothing stopping them from including clear language to that effect. So why didn’t they? Especially given that many ( most? all?) of them knew perfectly well that the program was never halted.”

  4. wldy1005 says:

    Will anything change? ONLY if we as the people come together and DEMAND change. Question is Will we?? I want to believe its possible and DO. We can change this.

  5. Zorba says:

    Fair’s fair. ;-)
    Cute pic.

  6. zorbear says:

    Frankly, I’d just settle for a functional party…

  7. karmanot says:

    Bodhi dog wanted some blog time. Here he is as a pup running on the Olgunquit beach in Maine.

  8. Butch1 says:

    Both are absolute liars; they should get along quite well.

  9. Butch1 says:

    Then his arrogance exceeds his judgment by far.

  10. Zorba says:

    Hey, k, what happened to your avatar?

  11. Zorba says:

    I’ve got you beat. I haven’t trusted the electorate since they first elected Richard Nixon.

  12. Indigo says:

    I haven’t really trusted “the electorate” since they gave that B movie actor a job at the White House.

  13. Monoceros Forth says:

    Presumably a “friend” would be someone you insult regularly and then offends you by refusing after a while to return your phone calls.

  14. karmanot says:

    There does seem to be a fetid nest of them targeting AB these days.

  15. karmanot says:

    It’s a long standing tradition in California.

  16. karmanot says:


  17. karmanot says:

    “When the job is to lie, you need a liar with a track record of lying.” Obama and Clapper are perfectly matched.

  18. BillFromPA says:

    What’s intresting to me is that all the outrage over this outragous act comes from our side.The repugs who usually howl over anything Obama proposes are largely silent. They understand and agree with guarding hen houses with Foxes.

  19. Monoceros Forth says:

    I remember that video. It was quite striking really to see the difference between Bush Minor as Governor and Bush Minor as President. Governor Bush might not have sounded intelligent, exactly, but at least he could speak fluently. President Bush too often, with his plodding delivery interspersed with frequent pauses and hesitations and numerous mangled phrases, sounded like he’s suffered a blow to the head immediately before speaking.

    My own belief, totally without proof of course, is that he never stopped drinking. Or, alternately, he maybe wasn’t drinking alcohol any more but was heavily dosed up with benzos or something similar to keep him sort of functioning.

  20. HolyMoly says:

    The right has lurched so far to the right (into crazy territory — see Bachmann, King, Paul, et al.) that the center inevitably has moved to the right. So much so that Reagan would be derided as “too liberal” by fellow Republicans. It’s not the left that has changed for the worse.

    The mainstream is actually much more to the left than the populace realizes. Take, for example, the silly Tea Party gnats who carry signs saying “Keep Your Government Out of My Medicare!” And they fail to see the irony. Republicans have simply used the word “liberal” in the pejorative to such great effect that people refuse to admit that they have liberal ideals.

  21. HolyMoly says:

    If you don’t like the music, change the channel.

  22. HolyMoly says:

    Unfortunately, the only qualifications for president are that he/she is at least 35 years old, is a natural-born U.S. citizen, and has been living in the U.S. for at least 14 years. There’s nothing said about a person’s education, experience, intelligence or lack thereof, or his/her connections with Big Oil, Big Pharma, or whoever.

    I guess that’s where the electorate is supposed to chime in. But so many of us are easily persuaded by a perfectly-coiffed hairdo, a bright (fake) smile, and focus group-tested soundbites. Bush II, I think, was an anomaly, considering his inability to grasp the basics of the English language**, but he pretty much canceled out that deficiency with his cowboy persona and fake Texas accent.

    ** One of my favorite Bushisms was when he tried to explain to the press that “disAssemble” (instead of “dissemble”) meant “to be misleading.” A funny thing, though, I do recall seeing a video of Bush speaking when he was running for governor of Texas where he was extremely articulate and sounded quite intelligent. I wonder if his later ignorance was all an act, or if maybe he drank the well water on his ranch.

  23. cole3244 says:

    obama ran as a progressive and governs as a conservative.

  24. HolyMoly says:

    And so the findings of this “review group” are a foregone conclusion. Just like climate change deniers, they start with the conclusion they want and then work backwards trying to make all the evidence fit their preconceived notions. Anything that doesn’t agree with it is quietly ignored.

  25. nicho says:

    Whoever “the other guy” is, I guarantee that the DLC bots will be by to tell us that we need to vote for the DLC candidate, because the other guy is worse.

  26. nicho says:

    No. They know exactly what they’re doing.

  27. lynchie says:

    Americans are tired of having no say. They are tired of being told what to think and I think are beyond the tipping point in realizing their congress does not give a rats ass what they want or think. Instead of worrying about voter id laws and the curbing of voting rights maybe we should think of why only 50% of the people eligible to vote actually do so.


    They have the lesser of two evils as options and the two evils are identical so, fuck it, why vote.

    We need more parties. If you look at Canada they have 19 recognized parties. In the UK there are 10. This diversity allows the average voter to find someone who might agree with their needs and desires. Oh sure you get the wacky, but no more wacky than the Dems or Repubs who cheat, lie, are stupid, send pictures of their junk, who wear diapers and get serviced, who rap on shit house walls, who chase interns, who streal, etc.

    No one in the media reports the truth or challenges the lies being thrown out like bags of cow shit for our consumption. The main reason for that is there are no reporters. There is no one among the crew who is smart enough to write a question and god forbid do a follow up question.

  28. dula says:

    I didn’t realize our Constitution was only important to the left wing.
    Oligarchy is the new black huh?

  29. Butch1 says:

    Is Obama and his administration really that obtuse?

  30. Monoceros Forth says:

    To be fair, the other guy in 2016 hasn’t been decided yet…doubt it’ll be Biden but we’ll see.

  31. Moderator3 says:

    That is seconded.

  32. Indigo says:


  33. Indigo says:

    Here in Florida, the police regularly review incidents where police shoot civilians and find nothing wrong.

  34. Indigo says:

    When the job is to lie, you need a liar with a track record of lying. James Clapper is unmistakeably the man for that job. As for President Quisling, he’s just doing what his puppet masters tell him to do. If that’s a problem, we need a more thorough review of the qualifications for public office than we’ve had so far. Sadly, there’s nothing in my crystal ball that portends anything other than more of the same.

  35. nicho says:

    Buh-bye now.

  36. PhillyGuard says:

    I’d prefer took choice #1, featuring a perp walk across the National Mall with Mr. Clapper in an orange jumpsuit and leg irons.

    Dishonesty goes down all too smoothly, given Americans’ irrationally-large fear of terror: Unfortunately, as we contemplate the liberty-for-security bargain we’re being offered by our government, our human brains are wired to make a terrible miscalculation
    –>”This is Your Brain on Terrorism” http://libertymcg.com/2013/07/23/this-is-your-brain-on-terrorism/

  37. usagi says:

    This is another of those moments when one wishes desperately for a functional opposition party. Obama should be impeached for this, but instead all the Republicans can talk about is Bengazi and his birth certificate. This is, I expect, because they can’t wait to get their hands on the NSA infrastructure when they retake the White House. Nobody actually wants to stop it. They just want to control it.

  38. Monoceros Forth says:

    So you’re here just to whinge then?

  39. condew says:

    Actually, I have a wider range of blogs from which to get my news.

  40. nicho says:

    Well, I’m sure you have a wider range of topics on your blog.

  41. condew says:

    Or maybe it’s just Left-wing expectations have strayed so far from the mainstream that the Left is becoming irrelevant.

  42. condew says:

    America blog sure has become a ghetto. Foaming at the mouth over their hatred of NSA and Russian bigotry, and not much else.

  43. Drew2u says:

    Not exactly something that’ll get on our Nightly News after work, Sunday Morning Shows before or after church, or Today Shows in the morning while trying to get the kids out the door.
    I’m assuming there were real journalists worthy of the title back in the Nixon era; I’m not sure what qualifies nowadays that’s not nightly cable news.

  44. Ford Prefect says:

    Suggested heder: Obama appoints admitted perjurer Clapper to investigate himself.

    But what the hell, eh? NJ Democrats just voted to put a crooked Christian Dominionist–connected to the the same people who pushed the “kill the gays” law in Uganda–on the US Senate ballot. And he’s the Democrat!

    With Dems like these, who needs Republicans anyway?

  45. Bruce says:

    A very sad day for America, the populous have lost all control. There is no accountability of the government. We are becoming a totalitarian state. Gov’t spying on us, stop and frisk, cameras everywhere. Police corruption, waivers for gov’t employees, promotions for lying to congress. Prosecutions for whisleblowers. IRS out of control, and I could go on and on, but now I am depressed.

  46. nicho says:

    Yeah, but the other guy is worse.

  47. nicho says:

    Yes, the propaganda bots will be along shortly to downvote everything.

  48. nicho says:

    This is the new fad. If you’re part of the powers that be, you get to investigate yourself.

    The FBI investigated the murder of Ibragim Todashev by an FBI agent and found the bureau did nothing wrong.

    MIT investigated its relentless persecution of Aaron Swartz, which drove him to suicide, and found that MIT did nothing wrong.

    Harvard investigated the school’s invasion of private faculty email and found the school did nothing wrong.

    Anyone want to guess where this NSA thing is going?

  49. Whitewitch says:

    Oh darn…hope lost again. I am not sure what the President is thinking, assuming that he is thinking. Treating people with the presumed guilty, until proven innocent is becoming a full blow movement in this country, with those who do “nothing” supporting the movement (not realizing someday the something they do might be as innocent as the things I do). TSA, NSA, NYC Stop n Frisk, all work on the premise that Americans are doing something that needs to be watched because we are bad bad bad or at least criminals. I have been angry about this since the instigation of the Take Your Shoes off at the airport and having been on the “no fly – without searching everything when it originally launched” I can tell you being presumed guilty is really unpleasant. Having my panties waived around at the boarding gate (yes, they stopped me, opened my boarding bag and took everything out, when my companion tried to wait for me they told him to move along and get on board – even though I might not be allowed to board) was the first clue that I was clearly presumed guilty….and who knows for what.

  50. gratuitous says:

    Well, I’m sure there is a Very Good Reason for this, and we’ll have a gaggle of folks along to tell us why very soon. My breath is suitably bated.

  51. Monoceros Forth says:

    I’m reminded a bit of Pres. Nixon’s “Operation Candor”, the 1973 public-relations campaign to clean up Nixon’s “Tricky Dick” image amidst the Watergate scandal. Nixon repeatedly made public appearances to promise that he’d be open and forthcoming while delivering nothing but vague generalities (and the infamous “I am not a crook” speech.) Nixon persisted throughout the Watergate affair to treat it as a PR problem, as if his grave violations of the public trust could be smoothed over with some press conferences and symbolic releases of documents. Pres. Obama is openly treating the NSA scandal in the same fashion–not a good sign.

  52. Drew2u says:

    Hillary 2016! (/snark)

  53. BeccaM says:

    Still more evidence our government is no longer in any way accountable to the people it supposedly serves.

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