We Can't Stop Another Snowden or Manning: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper

Note: Read Scott Shackford's post on this profile and a stinging reaction from Conor Freidersdorf of The Atlantic.

The Director of National Intelligence James Clapper tells The Daily Beast's Eli Lake:

“We will never ever be able to guarantee that there will not be an Edward Snowden or another Chelsea Manning because this is a large enterprise composed of human beings with all their idiosyncrasies.”

He also suggests he'd beat the shit out of Snowden if put in the same cell with the guy. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has suggested that Clapper be put away for lying to the Senate about collecting data on Americans on American soil.

"Senator Paul says I should get to know [Snowden] by being in the same prison cell with him, which I don’t think is a good idea....Probably wouldn’t be in Mr. Snowden’s best interest.”

And the 72-year-old vet of the military and intelligence services cops that he just doesn't understand Snowden's motivations:

“Maybe if I had I’d understand him better because I have trouble understanding what he did or what he’d do,” the director said. “From my standpoint, the damage he’s done. I could almost accept it or understand it if this were simply about his concerns about so-called domestic surveillance programs. But what he did, what he took, what he has exposed, goes way, way, way beyond the so-called domestic surveillance programs.” 

Read the whole profile here.

A coupla weeks back, Clapper told the Beast that Americans would have totally gotten behind super-secret surveillance if only he'd had the foresight to tell them about it ahead of time.

Note: Read Scott Shackford's post on this profile and a stinging reaction from Conor Freidersdorf of The Atlantic.

Regarding the prevention of another Snowden, NSA whistleblower William Binney told Reason TV that there were ways to prevent the sort of heist Snowden pulled, but it would require a more decentralized and less-hubristic approach to intelligence. Binney and other NSA lifers brought their concerns about mismanagement and illegal surveillance to Congress and the Department of Defense in the early 2000s and were repaid with...a subsequent investigation against them by the FBI. Hear his story:

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  • paranoid android||

    I'm more interested in what this country can do to stop the next James Clapper.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Prosecute this one.

    -jcr

  • Pro Libertate||

    How absurd. Of course they could stop them. All federal employees should have explosive chips embedded in their brains that can be set off with the appropriate signal.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I think he acknowledged that the program was just too big.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Why do you oppose my program?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Gladys Kravitz: Abner, I whipped up a batch of my icebox cookies. Now I'm going over and give some to Mr. and Mrs. Stephens.

    Abner Kravitz: Why do you want to inflict suffering on such a nice couple?

    Gladys Kravitz: My icebox cookies are very unusual.

    Abner Kravitz: I know. You make them out of real iceboxes.
  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Honest to fucking God, Clapper has no idea why Snowden did what he did? Then he doesn't understand why a large portion of the public he supposedly serves thanks Snowden for what he did? Does Clapper understand the oath he took? The ideas he swore to defend?

    Bullshit. He understands why everything was hoovered up, he just doesn't like that he wasn't the one doing the hoovering this time. He doesn't like that information on both foreign and domestic surveillance was taken, but he didn't seem to see much a difference with the programs with different targets himself.

  • Paul.||

    "Senator Paul says I should get to know [Snowden] by being in the same prison cell with him, which I don’t think is a good idea....Probably wouldn’t be in Mr. Snowden’s best interest.”

    I'd like to see James "pants-on-fire" Clapper try.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    These people are criminals of the highest sort. It is the great tragedy of the last 50 years that they aren't being held accountable in any way.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    You guys are missing a rare opportunity to quote Kravits' dialogue. It's comedy gold.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Better than Endora? I think not.

  • ||

    Senator Paul says I should get to know [Snowden] by being in the same prison cell with him, which I don’t think is a good idea....Probably wouldn’t be in Mr. Snowden’s best interest.

    I bet this is true. Clapper probably has some bad eczema, maybe gas too. At least, I can't imagine a 72-yr.-old man making serious physical threats on the life of a 30-yr.-old.

    A fucking internet knight in charge of National Intelligence.

  • Agammamon||

    A coupla weeks back, Clapper told the Beast that Americans would have totally gotten behind super-secret surveillance if only he'd had the foresight to tell them about it ahead of time.

    Well of course we would have. For the same reason people get behind light or 'high-sped' rail.

    Because those pushing the program will lie, lie, lie. They'll oversell the benefits, using (deliberately) faulty data and then lie about the actual planned scope.

    Then a few years down the road when we get the bill and figure out that they are acting way outside the boundaries they claimed were necessary we'll get 'but we *have* to do this or the money (lives) already spent will have been for nothing. Anyway, you were ok with this before'.

  • Boomer||

    "We will never ever be able to guarantee that there will not be an Edward Snowden..."

    Bullshit. Stop trashing the U.S. Constitution and lying every time you open your fucking mouth.

  • LarryA||

    [He also suggests he'd beat the shit out of Snowden if put in the same cell with the guy.]

    That ought to be on pay-per-view.

  • Stilgar||

    The IC has always been and seemingly will always be inept at stopping security leaks, foreign, domestic, turncoat or whatever. Ames was practically sending fireworks up from his house spelling "its me! its me!" and yet it took over a decade to finally weed him out. And unlike Snowed-in, real people really died because of his actions.

  • AmericanPrivacy||

    If we can do our part to help others protect their online privacy and restore their Fourth Amendment rights then we will have succeeded in our endeavors. It may be good for us to be reminded of what some of our Founding Fathers and other great leaders had to say about our God given rights:
    Protecting your 4th Amendment Rights
    www.americansrighttoprivacy.com

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