Today, director of national intelligence James Clapper and NSA head Keith Alexander testified in front of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. Both defended spying on foreign leaders and spying on American citizens. The New York Times reports:
"To be sure, on occasion we have made mistakes," said James R. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, though he attributed most of them to human error.
The Washington Post reports:
Army Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the NSA, said reports to the contrary, based on revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, were "completely false." He said European intelligence services collected phone records in war zones and other areas outside their borders and shared them with the NSA.
"This is not information that we collected on European citizens," Alexander told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. "It represents information that we and our NATO allies have collected in defense of our countries and in support of military operations."
Apparently referring to a slide outlining the information, Alexander said the leaker and reporters "did not understand what they were looking at."
Then explain it to us, General.
Given the fact that Clapper is a known baldfaced liar and Alexander has certainly exaggerated the number of terrorist incidents that the massive violation of Americans' Fourth Amendment rights his agency's domestic spying program has only tangentially provided some information about, why should anybody believe either of them?
If "mistakes were made," then those who made them and the supervisors who allowed them to go unreported should be punished. Ultimately, the only way to restore credibility to our government's intelligence agencies and protect the privacy of Americans is for President Obama to fire both Clapper and Alexander immediately. Then Congress needs to quickly pass legislation reining in intrusive domestic spying programs.