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

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @10:51AM (#46090549)

    This will just be another example of how de-fanged Congress has become. By all rights clapper should be removed. He lied under oath. Period. But the imperial presidency (which started under Bush and has only grown stronger under Obama) can and will ignore this.

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

    by cold fjord (826450) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:01AM (#46090635)

    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?

    No, it won't be them. The "dirt," for anyone paying attention, belongs to Wyden. [commentarymagazine.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:19AM (#46090745)

    Reading the questions that were asked and the responses he gave, it's pretty hard to believe Clapper didn't understand what was being asked. Personally, I think the concepts of "data" versus "metadata" and "known-to-be US citizens" versus "unknown/haven't checked" were so muddied in his head (and the CIA/NSA generally) that he might have thought he was answering honestly. It reminds me of the days when people emphatically said "Of course the US doesn't torture prisoners"... "for a very special and legally-dubious definition of what constitutes 'torture'". Twist words and definitions long enough and you start believing the new definitions yourself, but that makes it hard to communicate with others. "Oh! By 'any data on US citizens' you meant the normal, English, everyday meaning of the word 'data', not the twisted, something-other-than-metadata meaning we use at the CIA/NSA? And we'll just casually pretend that we don't know if the people we're sweeping up are US citizens or not, even though they probably are given the vast scope of collection."

    So, with what we know about the program now, either: 1) the guy was lying intentionally, or 2) he's innocent but incompetent because he didn't understand the nature of the programs that were underway and/or 3) he couldn't correctly communicate with the legislators asking him to explain what was going on in plain language. That's a failure of his duty any way you look at it. Malicious intent or incompetent. Take your pick.

    At that kind of level on an important issue, those are grounds for firing regardless of whether he was "lying".

  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @11:40AM (#46090921)

    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.

    Right after Pearl Harbor, Congress passed declarations of war against Germany and Japan (in response to their declarations of war against us). At that point Roosevelt told Congress that they should go into Recess until the War was over.

    Luckily for all of us, they told him to pound sand.

  • Re:Impeachment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@n ... t ['etz' in gap]> on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @12:05PM (#46091131) Homepage Journal

    Boldly lying to Congress is usually a good way to get bipartisan support.... to get you slapped in some official manner. There is also the ability to "censure" somebody in the federal government or to offer a "contempt of Congress" resolution as well. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

    Your statement would be correct if it wasn't for the fact that there were Democrats who signed this letter and that people of both parties are trying to run for cover to get on the popular side of this issue (which also cuts across both parties except for diehard fanatics). Besides, submitting a bill for consideration doesn't require the support of half of the members of any chamber, it only needs a single member of congress to submit the legislation for consideration... and the other co-signers of the letter could simply be co-signers of the legislation instead. If they submitted the legislation and it was held up in committee.... that is something they could similarly use to take back to their constituents and say "I did everything I could to remove this asshat, but the logjam in Washington kept me from getting it done."

    I'm saying that the entire notion of begging the President to fire the guy when you have this kind of authority seems stupid and even ignorant on the part of these Congressmen. Sending a letter to the President that you have already submitted such legislation and would like him to preempt such action before it gets to the full House for consideration is IMHO a much stronger message. It is almost as if these guys simply don't want to act at all.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @12:29PM (#46091371) Journal

    Clinton blatantly led bout his relationship with Lewinski, for instance... Didn't really do him any harm. The American people have already shown they can tolerate lying from people in office, so what's the problem?

    (doubtless about to be modded to -infinity for trolling)

  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @01:04PM (#46091743)

    Congress passed the mandate and Obama immediately said "nope, I'm going to ignore the law and declare my own law instead."

    Enforcement of the Law - even selective enforcement - is the purview of the President. There was an entire segment on NPR yesterday about the Executive Power of the President and how presidents have been using Executive Orders for doing this kind of thing throughout US history - back to George Washington (who issued 8).

    According to that segment, and this page on Executive Orders [ucsb.edu], Obama (168) has issued fewer than Bush-II (291), Clinton (364), Bush-I (166), and Regan (381) -- even by term. FDR issued the most at 3,522.

  • The Oath (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jeff13 (255285) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @01:12PM (#46091815) Homepage

    Point of fact, please pay attention.

    Director Clapper did NOT lie under oath at a Congressional hearing. He was never sworn in.

    It is common practice *cough* these days *cough* on Capital Hill for high ranking officials to refuse to be sworn in at any hearing. I know, sounds crazy but it happens. Why, you ask? They say it's because, and I shit you not, it would be an insult to their integrity.

    I say again, I shit you not.

    This is why Clapper is not in contempt of Congress. And that's a fact Jack.

  • Re:The basic rules. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @01:23PM (#46091891) Journal

    What exactly are you talking about? Contempt of Congress is a crime. They don't even need the executive or judicial branches. The Congressional Sergeant at Arms has the power to arrest someone, bring them to trial in Congress, and imprison them in the Capitol jail. This power was upheld by the Supreme Court in Anderson vs. Dunn (1821).

    But IANAL, so maybe you know something that I don't. To what limitation on this power do you refer?

  • Imperial Presidency? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:31PM (#46092597)

    Dear Anonymous Coward,

        You are obviously fairly young. Go back a bit in time, say 1971 or so. Check out Nixon's Marine Guards. From high plumes on their hats to gold braid everywhere else. That's what an imperial presidency looked like. In the background AT&T (the one and only national telephone company at the time) and IT&T (all of your international phone lines) basically worked for Nixon. Targeting Tea Partiers at the IRS? A little innocent fun. Back then the IRS worked for the White House and Nixon's enemies' (there was an actual list) were routinely raked over the IRS coals.

        Ahh, simpler times...

    Kind regards,

    An older Anonymous Coward

  • Re: Get Ready (Score:4, Interesting)

    by davester666 (731373) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:41PM (#46092709) Journal

    Please ignore the fact that the people he spoke to under oath ALREADY KNEW THE TRUTH prior to asking the question, and did NOT call him on it.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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