back to article James Clapper has found another reason why he lied about NSA spying

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper now has a fifth reason for why he lied to the US Congress over the NSA's spying program: he just plain forgot it existed. Speaking during a panel discussion last week, Clapper's general counsel Robert Litt said that Clapper had not had time to prepare an answer to the question …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Clapper... how about firing his ass for starters..

    He should be fired and charged with perjury to Congress. Instead, we get spin, spin, and more spin.

    Relevant link: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/1621

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Clapper... how about firing his ass for starters..

      I regard Clapper as vermin to exterminated like all vermin.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clapper... how about firing his ass for starters..

      Why fire? Lying under oath to a congressional inquiry in USA falls under the perjury statute. That should have been 7 years in the clapper for Mr Clapper. At least that is what would have been handed out to me and you.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clapper... how about firing his ass for starters..

      He should be fired and charged with perjury to Congress

      Not going to happen. As proven with Valerie Plame, if you're high enough you can always count on keeping the game in court long enough to pick up a presidential pardon when the guy in charge leaves.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Clapper... how about firing his ass for starters..

        if you're high enough you can always count on keeping the game in court long enough to pick up a presidential pardon when the guy in charge leaves.

        I must add a caveat here: unless you piss off high end people by reducing their ability to make war money by developing reasonably decent international relations and reduce the nation's deficit. That's why Clinton had to go.

  2. elDog Silver badge

    OMG - A spy chief not even knowing what they're doing? Figures.

    They are only in that position to be the public face on a rather private "enterprise".

    Clapper probably doesn't know much about his agency except for which hallway and which door has his own personal crapper.

    The spook industry is so corrupt and riddled with careerists that it is no surprise they couldn't find out an answer to a question that was given them a day before.

    Fortunately the agencies of lots of other anti-US/5Eyes organizations actually Give A Sht about results. Maybe they can teach US something, if we survive.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: OMG - A spy chief not even knowing what they're doing? Figures.

      While normally I'd go with Hanlon's Razor ("Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."), this time I'm going to assume that he was just lying, or at least being deliberately misleading. Nobody is that flipping incompetent.

  3. Captain DaFt

    Hmmm...

    Where have I heard this type defense before?

    Ah yes...

  4. Chairo
    Facepalm

    What about this one:

    "I tripped and I ended up in one of the boats, that's how I found myself in the lifeboat".

    Oh, wait - that was someone else's ridiculous excuse. Well, at least that one got the sentence he deserved...

  5. The Nazz Silver badge

    The K.I.S.S principle

    If his lawyer said he didn't do it ( deliberately lie to Congress) then ...

    Then he did.

    End of.

  6. Adam 1 Silver badge

    If a program can be so insignificant to effective intelligence gathering that the relevant director can totally forget its existence even after being forewarned of the question and yet is so offensively invasive to innocent people, it does beg the question about why it isn't shut down.

    Surely those funds could be used for other worthwhile causes?

    1. The Travelling Dangleberries

      @Adam 1

      "If a program can be so insignificant to effective intelligence gathering that the relevant director can totally forget its existence..."

      ...it begs the question just what other things the NSA have been up to that would make the director forget something as insignificant as merely gathering data on all Americans' phonecalls.

  7. noj

    a complete circus

    Amazing. Not that they lied. That's their job.

    But that people actually believed them.

  8. RedneckMother

    Why?

    Why isn't that lying sack of shit, that oath betraying motherfucker, NOT in a maximum security, "pound me in the ass", Federal prison, for a LONG time?

    Goddamn traitor, betrayer of the Constitution he swore to uphold... that's what he is (and so many others are).

    Wow, glad I was able to vent...

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Why?

      Make the most of it. The way things are going you won't be able to for much longer.

  9. Winkypop Silver badge
    Trollface

    For a Director of National Intelligence

    He sure doesn't spin very well.

  10. HildyJ

    I'm shocked; SHOCKED; that the intelligence community doesn't know what they're doing and lies about it. More to the point, they don't have a good reason why they're doing it, other than to build budgets and bureaucratic empires (and to curry favor with the right wing extremists in Congress).

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Perhaps it's the other way around? Congress, etc. have to curry favor with them since they would know about every Congressmans proclivities. And yes, this about power and it being uncontrolled power.

  11. Bloodbeastterror

    Impune...?

    Impugn.

    FTFY.

  12. Nehmo

    Why no change?

    How come most (in some articles, all) the comments agree with the position that the NSA is a tool of oppression and that Snowden is a hero, yet Clapper remains rich and free, and our hero is in exile?

    And it's been that way for a couple of years now. Nothing changes really.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Why no change?

      Perhaps Mr Clapper has {cough cough} enough dirt on all the congress critters to stop them going after him. If they did then how would getting a dose of 'The Clap' look on their CV's eh?

      sorry, could not resist it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why no change?

      How come most (in some articles, all) the comments agree with the position that the NSA is a tool of oppression and that Snowden is a hero, yet Clapper remains rich and free, and our hero is in exile?

      And it's been that way for a couple of years now. Nothing changes really.

      Because the US is only a democracy in name, even the voting process is rigged (Man of the Year is in this context more a documentary).

      A true democracy demands transparency - opaqueness in government decision and budget processes is a sign that not all is well.

    3. noj

      Re: Why no change?

      Because Clapper and all those like him are doing what the government wants.

      Snowden exposed the truth about the unfettered surveillance of our digital lives. He will never be forgiven for that by this US administration or any that follow. But Snowden is "guilty" of exposing an even greater truth: the government, by lack of action against Clapper and those like him, endorses that wholesale collection.

      There will never be even a wrist slap for people like Clapper. He can lie through his teeth over and over, under oath or not, without a care because the government will do nothing about it. Hearings such as this are just a show for the American public. Nothing more.

      To the US government the surveillance is justified. It doesn't matter if that surveillance did nothing to thwart the attack in France and now another in the US itself. It doesn't matter that this surveillance runs counter to the US law. It doesn't matter if US businesses lose market share internationally because they can't protect their own data. It doesn't matter that even the US public, as clueless as it historically has been, is actually more aware of all of this.

      So the real question is not why Clapper and people like him are not being punished for lying. The real question is what the government gets out of the surveillance.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    His job description should have wording saying he has to be competent to do the job. If he forgets just what his agency is doing, is that competent? How do lead when you don't know what your leading?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If job descriptions were to really include competency as a requirement you could sack most of the politicians as well as most top corporate management.

      I feel sorry for you when those drugs finally wear off :).

  14. Bluto Nash
    Facepalm

    "Didn't have time to review"

    Well, DUH. If it was REALLY fair, you'd have been unaware of EVERY question, and not had time to prepare the carefully worded not-an-answer answers that you put forth. You know, like the rest of us.

  15. Peter Simpson 1

    He's a spy

    They lie. So often, it becomes a habit. And they're in even bigger trouble if they reveal the existence of a classified program.

    Not saying it's right, or justified, just that they live and work in a different world, where the rules are different, and they can easily convince themselves that the normal rules don't apply to them.

    Also, they tend to have a mentality that they are the last bastion of defense for a peaceful country. So, "civilians" (including congresscritters) aren't capable of even comprehending the momentous consequences of the work they do every day to protect this country. Therefore, the opinions and wishes of the "general public" (i.e.: those without Top Secret Codeword clearances) are mere distractions, and not to be taken very seriously. Honest. You got a little peek into that world during the Watergate scandal: "When the President does it, that means it's not illegal."

  16. Sevjer

    He answered fast, being the Director of National intelligence does not mean he knows everything that goes on. There are 17 Intelligence community (IC) agency's that fall under him. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Intelligence_Community

    Maybe the problem really is we have too many of them and they are getting too big and out of control.

    Ben Franklin said it best over 200 years ago.

    "They who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserver neither liberty or safety".

  17. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Megaphone

    You're fired!

    "Civil servants" like Clapper fall into thinking they're our lords and masters. The U.S. Constitution begins thus: "We the people..." We the people are the lords and masters. Jerks like Clapper are only the hired help. He should be out on his ass for good. At least.

  18. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Just lock the lying, perjurious scumbag up!!

    It will never happen, because the security state takes care of it's own, and perjury prosecutions are only for the little people.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    perfectly clear that he had absolutely forgotten

    he clean forgot, oopsie

  20. AustinTX

    This article FAILS for lack of touching on NSA Secret Terminology

    Clapper cleverly interpreted the Senator's choice of language using his profession's secret definition of it. to "Collect" means that a human analyst personally examines recordings or metadata which has been intercepted* (*this word also has special meaning to NSA), stored, filtered by computer and flagged for potential interest. We peasant folk would of course consider this data as "collected" before it's considered "Collected" by NSA. "Intercepted" in NSA language also means something happens after information is intercepted. IIRC, it's about the appearance of search results which they were consciously looking for. So you understand, all that data they intercept and collect is only Collected and Intercepted when they look at it and like it. They can do virtually anything they desire to get it, find it, and use it, but none of that exists until they define it into existence.

  21. Spaceman Spiff

    Really Your Honor...

    Really Your Honor, I am a poor, pathological liar. You can't believe anything that I say... -James Clapper

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