Surveillance

5 Reasons America Should be Happy to See James Clapper Leave His Post

The departing director of national intelligence had no respect for our rights, no problem lying about it, and no apparent ability to do the basics of his job right.

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After what CNN reports as "months" of anticipation of quitting, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper submitted his resignation today (something all current administration high officials will also be doing during the administration change).

Michael Reynolds/EPA/Newscom

From past Reason reporting, let's remember just five reasons America should be quite happy to see the door hitting Clapper on his way out, and hard.

1) Most importantly, Clapper believed that any sort of warrant requirement for scouring citizens' electronic records was untenable as it would hobble the government's ability to find and prevent terror attacks—and used as evidence for this a list of terror attacks that existing surveillance powers did nothing to uncover or stop—while engaging in lobbying Congress to make sure it didn't do anything to actually protect America's liberties and to further empower his own job.

See Ronald Bailey's reporting on the above.

If the Trump administration is so against citizen or business interest lobbying, I hope, but do not expect it to, take a firmer stand against executive branch officials lobbying Congress to expand their ability to violate Americans' constitutional rights.

2) Clapper's a confessed perjurer about his assaults on Americans' rights, lying to Congress about National Security Agency's privacy violating practices, as Ronald Bailey noted-with-alarm.

Here's the video. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), bless him, believed Clapper, rather than quietly retiring, should have maybe faced jail time for that.

3) Clapper's best defense when his perjury became obvious was that, as director of national intelligence, he was so incompetent in any role as a watchful and efficient executive that he just forgot the massive metadata electronic surveillance program covering pretty much all Americans existed when asked about it, as Scott Shackford reported.

4) Clapper presided over a national system in which our intelligence workers got to enjoy and share embarrassing private information gathered about Americans, because their systems and methods made differentiating targetable foreign actors from Americans pretty much impossible, as J.D. Tuccille reported.

5) According to his own boss President Obama (who chose not to fire him for it), the intelligence operations Clapper managed did a shoddy job understanding and relaying relevant facts about radical Islam (which, whether or not you agree, the U.S. government sees as our most pressing actual military problem demanding good intelligence) in Syria and regarding ISIS in Iraq.

Clapper is going to be gone, and that's good. What is not good is that the powers, and the vision of the proper use of those powers, that the next DNI will control will almost certainly be the same as Clapper's, if not worse.

What we know about Trump's attitude toward whistleblower Edward Snowden who made the existence of such surveillance systems undeniable—that is, that he's a traitor who deserves death—there is little reason to believe any Trump appointee will be any better. This is not a guy who seems to think anything should hobble him or the government it now controls in pursuit of his perceived enemies.

The departure of an abuser of power is cause for a small moment of glee. That the abuse of power inherent in the job is going nowhere is cause for that eternal vigilance we are always hearing about.

NEXT: Listening to Sex Offenders

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  1. 5 Reasons America Should be Happy to See James Clapper Leave His Post and Go to Prison

    I believe the blog software cut off the end of that headline.

    1. Top. Men. send people to prison, not the other way around.

      1. “In Russia Top Men send YOU to prison. In America….top men send you to prison also.”

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    2. I think if Trump went after Clapper and put him in prison for the next 20 or so years I might actually learn to respect him.

  2. CLAP OFF

      1. I’ve been waiting years to post that.

  3. Clapper’s a confessed perjurer about his assaults on Americans’ rights, lying to Congress about National Security Agency’s privacy violating practices

    But it’s just perjury to Congress! If you make that a crime, what’s next? Destruction of subpoenaed data? Why not just burn down the Reichstag already? Seriously, you people. Scratch a libertarian, find a fascist.

    According to his own boss President Obama (who chose not to fire him for it), the intelligence operations Clapper managed did a shoddy job understanding and relaying relevant facts about radical Islam (which, whether or not you agree, the U.S. government sees as our most pressing actual military problem demanding good intelligence)

    I though “we were not in war with Islam” (radical or otherwise). And from all the reporting I see, Russia is the most pressing military problem. Though granted, it seems to require no intelligence, good or otherwise.

    1. And from all the reporting I see, Russia is the most pressing military problem. Though granted, it seems to require no intelligence, good or otherwise.

      Easy for you to say, Canuckistan will only have to deal with the fallout!

  4. …and no apparently ability to do the basics of his job right.

    An offshoot of Skitt’s Law?

  5. James Clapper did not invent the toilet. That is just an urban legend.

    1. He built a better lightswitch.

      1. Or the thing that helps you find your keys.

      1. He had a hand in gonorrhea but swore he washed it thoroughly afterward.

  6. Because, among an entire administration of pathological liars, he’s likely the worst?

    1. Actually, I’ll give him this: he clearly felt extremely uncomfortable lying to Congress, because his entire body language was saying “I am lying to you”. Clapper was just your garden variety liar-for-personal gain.

      Pathological liars and sociopaths (like Hillary Clinton) can lie without any visible signs, and they lie even about things where there is no personal gain involved, just because they can.

  7. Alt Headline: America has been cured of the Clap.

  8. WTF?

    Radley Balko ?@radleybalko Nov 15
    1. You know I love you, @reason, but I’m not getting your homepage right now. Lots of mocking the left, lecturing people who are scared…

    Mocking the left and belittling pants-wetters and alarmists is the only reason I donate.

    1. somebody don’t like us..

      Radley Balko ?@radleybalko 5h5 hours ago
      “What did you do as Trump gave power to authoritarians and bigots?”

      “I ridiculed minorities who were scared and college students who cried”

      1. This your Balko.

        This is your Balko on WaPo.

        Any questions?

      2. I don’t think Radley knows what “boy who cried wolf” means. Are Trump’s staff really authoritarians and bigots or are they just labeled as such?

        1. I’ll keep an open mind about Trump until he actually has been in government for a little while.

          For Hillary Clinton, the answer is obvious.

    2. Lots of mocking the left

      Good. Assholes who deserve mocking are getting it.

      lecturing people who are scared…

      Good. They need to snap out of their bullshit before real life turns them inside out.

      Fuck Radley Balko. He doesn’t get to ride his previous good work forever.

    3. But I have it on “good authority” that reason contributors voted en masse for Hillary.

      So which is it, are they a bunch of progtards pretending at being libertarian, or a bunch of “fascist” Trump supporters mocking progtards and lecturing people who are scared (for no good reason)?

      1. I read this as “they” (i.e., the commenters on Reason) are a “bunch of `fascist’ Trump supporters etc. etc.” but the writers at Reason “contibut[ed] en masse for Hillary”.

  9. So long, scumbag! A pity it wasn’t to a Federal Penitentiary…

  10. RE: 5 Reasons America Should be Happy to See James Clapper Leave His Post
    The departing director of national intelligence had no respect for our rights, no problem lying about it, and no apparent ability to do the basics of his job right.

    Yeah, Clapper would’ve done well working for Beria, Wolff or Himmler.
    Does this mean Trump will hire him back?

    1. no apparent ability to do the basics of his job right.
      Clapper would’ve done well working for Beria, Wolff or Himmler.

      Not in the position he was in, no. He’d be off in Upper Yakutsk, molesting trees and bears.

      1. I thought that, in Soviet Russia, trees and bears molest you?

  11. Good riddance. You won’t be missed.

  12. I don’t need five.

  13. Slow clap your way out.

  14. Fuck this guy. Too ba he collects a pension on your dime.

  15. Good riddance and fuck off.

  16. Alt-text:

    Which one of these senator’s naughty emails should I threaten to leak?

  17. told lies to congress
    was exposed by wikileaks
    no consequence.

    so – no different from multitude of other Obama/Democrat administration figures. OUT!

  18. Clapper can be Hillary’s VP in four years.

  19. Can’t speak for America, but I’m definitely happy.

    Clapper belongs in the crapper. He proved himself to be a P.O.S.

  20. The Clapper Memo criticizes him. It’s on Amazon at http://goo.gl/pQgvPj (Shortened because the real URL is > 50 bytes.)

    In Bob McCarty’s second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, he reveals irrefutable evidence of an unconventional war being waged by polygraph loyalists against all challengers to their century-old credibility assessment technology. Best described as a “turf war,” this conflict has been raging silently for 40 years, shows no signs of easing, and impacts Americans around the world. Among those involved in the turf war is Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr.

    “Clearly an unconscionable cover-up,” — Capt. Larry W. Bailey, U.S. Navy SEAL (Ret.), former commander of the U.S. Navy SEALs Basic Underwater Demolition/SEALs Training Program (a.k.a., “B.U.D./S.”).

    “Bob McCarty has uncovered a high-tech ‘turf war’ pitting those who want the best for our troops against others who seem to be focused on their own self-interests,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, U.S. Army (Ret.), former deputy commander of U.S. Army Pacific. “I highly recommend THE CLAPPER MEMO.”

    “Perhaps the most thorough investigative reporting I have encountered in years. I direct the attention of the so-called major media to it. This is how it’s done!” — David P. Schippers, Chief Investigative Counsel, Clinton Impeachment Hearings, U.S. House of Representatives.

  21. He certainly over-stayed his welcome.

  22. This guy is a communist through and though.

    http://www.commieblaster.com/g…..index.html

  23. Clapper presided over a national system in which our intelligence workers got to enjoy and share embarrassing private information gathered about Americans,

    The main problem with this is that administrations can use this information to blackmail political opponents, and probably have been doing that on more than one occasion.

  24. Head of security my a–. These agencies are supposed to be protecting our freedoms not be the biggest threat to them. Good riddance to Clapper who led the attack on our constitutional rights a lied about it under oath. He had no clue what he was supposed to be defending in all his years of government service.

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