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Congressmen Say Clapper Lied To Congress, Ask Obama To Remove Him 383

Posted by timothy
from the put-your-hands-together dept.
Trailrunner7 writes "A group of six Congressmen have asked President Barack Obama to remove James Clapper as director of national intelligence as a result of his misstatements to Congress about the NSA's dragnet data-collection programs. The group, led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), said that Clapper's role as DNI 'is incompatible with the goal of restoring trust in our security programs.' Clapper is the former head of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and has been DNI since 2010. In their letter to Obama, the group of Congressmen calling for his ouster said that he lied to Congress and should no longer be in office. 'The 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,' the letter from Issa, Ted Poe, Paul Broun, Doug Collins, Walter Jones and Alan Grayson says." "Misstatement," of course, being the favorite euphemism for "lie."
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Congressmen Say Clapper Lied To Congress, Ask Obama To Remove Him

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  • Get Ready (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The_Star_Child (2660919) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:31AM (#46090407)
    Get ready for the dirt to be spilled on Darrell Issa, Ted Poe, Paul Broun, Doug Collins, Walter Jones and Alan Grayson. What's the over/under on child porn?
  • Sadly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcrb (187104) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <brcj>> on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:32AM (#46090411) Homepage

    It's not a "lie" if they aren't convicted, and even then for most people it will still be a "misstatement".

    The win at all costs nature that American politics have turned into as of late have made seeing just how blatant a lie you can get away with part of the game rather than something to be avoided.

    Asking nicely for his removal will accomplish nothing at all. Either go for conviction or don't bother. Saying "he's not nice and we don't like him anymore" is not going do anything other than cause the administration to chuckle.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:35AM (#46090435)

    At least, I always thought that lying under oath was a crime, but perhaps this does not apply to people in certain socioeconomic circles.

  • Impeachment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Teancum (67324) <robert_horningNO@SPAMnetzero.net> on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:39AM (#46090455) Homepage Journal

    Congress has the authority to remove people from positions in the federal government on their own. Why don't they use it?

    And no, it doesn't need to be an impeachment of the President, it can be any officer or person holding a position of trust in the U.S. government. Dozens of impeachment bills are presented every year in Congress, where they seldom get any sort of attention even when they pass as it is usually for obscure offices or minor judges. if these congressmen were serious, they would just start the process and hold that over the head of President Obama to act before they do.

    It just seems that in this case talk is cheap, as if filing a bill is something not in their authority.

  • A positive step (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SirGarlon (845873) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:39AM (#46090457)

    People have been complaining forever about Congress doing nothing about the NSA's egregious overreach. This is just a gesture, but it's a gesture in the right direction.

    Best case, Obama ignores the letter, then Congress gets royally pissed off and does something with more teeth.

  • Re:Sadly (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:41AM (#46090469)

    It's not a "lie" if they aren't convicted, and even then for most people it will still be a "misstatement".

    Great, perhaps his language usage will improve if we start calling "decapitation" for "physical encouragement".

  • Re:Sadly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jawnn (445279) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:43AM (#46090481)
    Yep. That our Congress has lacked the will to call this man on the crimes he has plainly committed is a sign that our government is beginning to fail. We could debate about when that failure really began, but when the head of a rogue agency is allowed to metaphorically extend his middle finger to the body of elected officials charged with the oversight of him and his agency, that failure is well established.
  • Re:Impeachment (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:45AM (#46090499) Homepage Journal

    Congress has the authority to remove people from positions in the federal government on their own. Why don't they use it?

    Because the way they see it, if they lay it on the President's shoulders, come election time they can tell their constituents "Hey, we tried to do something, see? Obama obviously hates America."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:46AM (#46090505)

    About the same as for all the fucking democrats who co-authored and supported the bill.

    Stop being a useless fuck and actually learn something. Neither party is on your side here.

  • Barry Bonds (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ebonum (830686) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:46AM (#46090509)

    I will remind you that Barry Bonds went to jail for lying to Congress. They didn't hesitate to throw him in jail.

    Either throw Clapper in jail or rewrite the laws to reflect reality: If you are powerful enough and have the full support of the current administration, you are immune from prosecution.

    And while you are at it, take that stupid blindfold off that statute of justice. That is from another world and another time. It has no relevance today.

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:50AM (#46090539)

    If a regular joe lied to congress, under oath, they'd send his ass up the river on a multitude of charges running the gamut from conspiracy to perjury to treason. Clapper should be judged by the same laws. Let a jury decide.

  • You lied (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:52AM (#46090567)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8keZbZL2ero ... to cause epistemological problems of sufficient magnitude as to lay upon the logical and semantic resources of the English language a heavier burden than they can reasonably be expected to bear.

  • Re:Get Ready (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fatphil (181876) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:59AM (#46090617) Homepage
    +1 Insightful (got'em, but prefer to reply...)

    I think with what we know about the NSA being able to inject malware onto targets' systems, there's always plausible deniability about anything found on home machines. "The NSA put it there" is now unfalsifiable, and always can be used to plant reasonable doubt. Means, motive, what else do you need?
  • Re:Sadly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pi1grim (1956208) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:04AM (#46090639)

    Maybe they should have avoided lying in the first place instead of avoiding to call it what it is now?

  • Re: Get Ready (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:04AM (#46090643)

    if Holder still has his job after all the scandal and corruption, the chances a crony holding a key office and overseeing the surveillance program is canned for doing exactly what the emperor says? Zero point zero.

  • by raymorris (2726007) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:24AM (#46090787)

    > But the imperial presidency (which started under Bush and has only grown stronger under Obama)

    ROTFL. Bush Jr was a slightly weaker than average president. If you want to see an imperial presidency, look at Roosevelt, Lincoln or Kennedy. Congress didn't authorize the civil war, Lincoln sent the army to destroy the south by his own executive order. Kennedy too sent the armed forces into the south to enforce desegregation, on his own initiative. Bush sought (and received) congressional approval for what his predecessors would have called "routine military exercises".

    One thing is new - presidents in the past have left Congress out of the decision making, but the didn't tend to flatly defy Congress, declaring that they have chosen to ignore the law and write their own. Obama's unilateral changes to Obamacare such as delaying the employer mandate for a year is a new kind of imperial presidency. Congress passed the mandate and Obama immediately said "nope, I'm going to ignore the law and declare my own law instead." I don't think even Roosevelt had done that.

  • Re:Get Ready (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:38AM (#46090901)

    There must be something wrong with this letter. I mean, Wyden, Paul and Amash aren't signatories - that should tell you something.

  • Re:Sadly (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bartles (1198017) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:44AM (#46090951)
    They haven't lacked the will. Are you saying that Issa wouldn't do it tomorrow if he could? It's that Democrats and the media, so far are unwilling to cast blame for any of the various scandals including this one because the blame lies on their side. They are willing to say how bad it is, and then they shrug their shoulders and do it again with the next one. Contrast with the Bush era when they were too willing to cast blame, even when it was unwarranted.
  • Clapper in Prison (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phoenix666 (184391) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:45AM (#46090957)

    He belongs in prison, along with his deputies that obeyed his orders to violate the Constitution thousands of times. Same goes for Keith Alexander. Obama, too, must be impeached for signing off on all of it. We are at a 200-year break point. Either the American citizenry reasserts its primacy in the democracy and teaches all and sundry again that the law is for everybody, we will lose it all for the next century or two. I would prefer we take those steps now when we still have means to attack the corruption rather than several generations deep into the police state when we will have nothing.

  • Re:Sadly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cfulton (543949) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:53AM (#46091015)
    And Pete Seeger had the balls to stand up for what he believed and did not lie or change his story. Politicians and bureaucrats lie instinctively, but will happily repudiate themselves at a later date if it keeps them in power.
  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:56AM (#46091045)

    Alberto Gonzalez flat out lied to Congress and got a week to "correct" his testimony and I was tearing my hair out. Clapper did the same and it's hardly registered in public discourse. If Congress gets lied to their oversight obligations are compromised which is intolerable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @12:05PM (#46091133)

    One thing is new - presidents in the past have left Congress out of the decision making, but the didn't tend to flatly defy Congress, declaring that they have chosen to ignore the law and write their own.

    I'd say "but Bush" and point out his signing statements, but the fact is that they've been around since James Monroe [thepresidency.org].

  • by dcollins (135727) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @12:09PM (#46091165) Homepage

    "Bush Jr was a slightly weaker than average president. If you want to see an imperial presidency, look at Roosevelt, Lincoln or Kennedy. Congress didn't authorize the civil war, Lincoln sent the army to destroy the south by his own executive order. Kennedy too sent the armed forces into the south to enforce desegregation, on his own initiative. Bush sought (and received) congressional approval for what his predecessors would have called "routine military exercises"."

    That's insanely ludicrous. Bush started at least two major wars with no declaration of war. One against an entirely unrelated country on totally fallacious charges. Were you paying attention for like 10 years when the armed forces were complaining about how thin they were stretched and couldn't meet recruiting goals? Soldiers being called back after retirement for 3, 4, 5, 6 tours of duty? Bush ripping up the nuclear SALT treaty unilaterally? There's whole books written about how Cheney alone was the most powerful vice-president in history.

  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @12:12PM (#46091189) Homepage

    Congressmen Say Clapper Lied To Congress, Ask Obama To Remove Him

    What is it about headlines that makes people unwilling to use the word "and"? I can understand it in ye olde days of printe when you might need to claw baxk whatever space you could (did it then just become a convention?), but it's not like you'll break teh internets with a few extra characters.

  • Re:Barry Bonds (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @12:43PM (#46091501)

    I thought the blindfold was because she’s in front of a firing squad.

  • Re:Get Ready (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kilfarsnar (561956) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @12:50PM (#46091605)

    No, Snowden is at best a leaker, he could be worse.

    Which "malfeasance" are you referring to? I haven't heard of them doing anything illegal (even if some might tend to make you uncomfortable).

    Really? http://www.forbes.com/sites/je... [forbes.com]

    Keep up, eh?

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @01:07PM (#46091769)

    There's whole books written about how Cheney alone was the most powerful vice-president in history.

    I think this was the key. Bush Jr, by himself, was a weaker than average President. However, he had an administration that pushed the limits of Executive Branch power. Cheney et all wanted the President to be the supreme ruler unanswerable to anyone so that the Democrats couldn't stop them from doing what they wanted to do. Of course, the danger with this is that - if you get it - it is only a matter of time before "that other party" gains control of this seat of power and you are faced with the receiving end of the power*. Because, no matter what they say while campaigning, no politician is going to roll back Presidential powers. At best, they'll just expand them at a slower pace or in different areas than the other guy would.

    * Thus my constant rule of determining whether a certain government official should have a certain power: How would you like it if the person occupying that position had the exact opposite political views that you do and used that power? If you'd oppose that, then you can't support the official (presumably from "your party") having that power at all.

  • Re: Get Ready (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SydShamino (547793) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @01:09PM (#46091793)

    To be fair, I think the guy should be removed from office. The problem as I see it is that Congress demands that every appointee be removed if they make any mistake, no matter how minor or (as in this case) serious. Meanwhile, some appointees can never get approved under any circumstances.

    Given that environment, I can see why Obama won't fire the guy. There's a chance Obama would not get a replacement confirmed by the end of his term.

    The whole process, and most everyone involved in it, sucks all around.

  • by Karzz1 (306015) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:20PM (#46092485) Homepage
    Comparing the number of EOs to arrive at any sort of conclusion is much like measuring productivity by lines of code written/comitted. The raw numbers tell very little.
  • by raymorris (2726007) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @03:32PM (#46093373)

    Some changes Obama unilaterally decided on include eliminating the funding source, the mandate, and declaring his union buddies don't have to comply with the law. (Equal protection clause, anyone?).

    You say "you alleged". Leaders of his own party have said his overreach into writing his own law, rather than going to congress, is an impeachable offense; "no question about it, not even close", democrat congressmen have said. You like the guy, that's fine, I get that. Be honest with yourself, though, he's not perfect, not anywhere close to perfect. One of those imperfections is that he's thoroughly confused about his role vis-a-vis congress.

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