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US Director of National Intelligence Admits He Was Wrong About Data Collection

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the promoted-to-director-of-the-obvious dept.

Privacy 296

Gunkerty Jeb writes "In a highly unusual move, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said Tuesday that he misspoke when he told a Congressional committee in March that the National Security Agency does not collect data on millions of Americans. Clapper said at the time that the agency does not do so 'wittingly,' but in a letter to the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper admitted this statement was 'erroneous.' Clapper, the top U.S. intelligence official, has been quite vocal in his defense of the NSA's now-public surveillance programs such as PRISM and the metadata collection program. In statements published shortly after the leak of classified documents by Edward Snowden about those collection efforts Clapper said that they both have been repeatedly authorized by Congress and the executive and judicial branches over the years."

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The fall guy (2)

Phoeniyx (2751919) | about a year ago | (#44174295)

has been handpicked!! Wonder what he's getting under the table for his "selfless sacrifice"?

Re:The fall guy (4, Funny)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about a year ago | (#44174317)

has been handpicked!!

Wonder what he's getting under the table for his "selfless sacrifice"?

The NSA will be removing the surveillance devices in his bedroom and the toiletbowl camera in his bathroom.

Re:The fall guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174523)

Woah woah woah! Let's not suggest anything treasonous!

Re:The fall guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44175031)

Woah woah woah! Let's not suggest anything treasonous!

Clapper or Snowden? Was Clapper's anwser a carefully thought leak of information about a program he personally did not approve of? One reason the government is leaking like a sieve is government officials and others are asked to do things that offend their sensibilities. Clapper at the worst will lose his job Snowden his life.

Re:The fall guy (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44174809)

He will get promoted to a good position inside of the Ministry of Truth.

Re:The fall guy (5, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about a year ago | (#44174333)

Wonder what he's getting under the table for his "selfless sacrifice"?

Well, he's had his passport revoked, is being hunted around the world, and is being vilified in almost all public media.

Oh, wait....

Re:The fall guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174383)

That's your job.

Re:The fall guy (3, Informative)

CunningPike (112982) | about a year ago | (#44174457)

Not forgotting (seeminly multiple) countries closing their airspace [bbc.co.uk] on the chance that you might be on board.

Re:The fall guy (3, Insightful)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year ago | (#44174623)

...and in the end only China and Russia will emerge from this dungheap smelling of roses.
Can't we simply say that the Western Ideals have been abandoned so we can safely watch "$COUNTRY Got Talent", wave our flags and pretend we are still worthy to be proud of? Surely?

Re:The fall guy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174505)

Wonder what he's getting under the table for his "selfless sacrifice"?

Well, he's had his passport revoked, is being hunted around the world, and is being vilified in almost all public media.

Oh, wait....

Most US public media, Snowden is getting mostly neutral or positive press everywhere else.

Re:The fall guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44175285)

What sacrifice? He should have already been charged with contempt of congress, perjury, and obstruction of justice. Our entire Federal government is out of control.

It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (4, Insightful)

dargaud (518470) | about a year ago | (#44174307)

And WTF does 'wittingly' means ? That you are trying to drown a fish ?

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (5, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | about a year ago | (#44174375)

And WTF does 'wittingly' means ? That you are trying to drown a fish ?

I don't care if he said he "smurfed" US Citizens. The real concern we should be having here is a complete lack of consequence.

Worst-case scenario? He'll be asked to step down and retire comfortably. Of course, this is after he's offered millions for a tell-all book and movie deal. Watch and see.

The rich and powerful go unpunished. THAT is the real concern. Lies mean nothing without real consequence.

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (5, Interesting)

dmbasso (1052166) | about a year ago | (#44174429)

The rich and powerful go unpunished. THAT is the real concern.

In this case, punishment shouldn't even be the main concern. The focus should be in stopping the clearly unconstitutional activities. But the US population opinion is "fuck the constitution, protect us from those evil terrorists" [because that's the objective of the PRISM program, right? sure...].

Land of the free, home of the brave. LOL.

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (5, Interesting)

aralin (107264) | about a year ago | (#44174473)

No, in this case, punishment absolutely has to be a concern. The next time another pompous asshole considers to perjure himself in front of Congress, I want him to remember this guy serving 5-10 years and then reconsider the real consequences of his actions. And we might not have those secret programs in the first place.

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174649)

5-10 years? Don't you have the death penalty over there? He committed a severe crime against the *entire population*...

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (1)

rioki (1328185) | about a year ago | (#44174783)

...ignoring the fact that the programs where OKed by congress...

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174805)

...ignoring the fact that the programs where OKed by congress...

Ah, to clarify, the line item in front of Congress read "$12 billion". THAT is what they "OKed", the budget.

And the reason Congress is left in the dark is the same reason US Citizens are left in the dark. For the sake of "National Security".

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44175165)

That's bullshit. Giving billions of dollars without the public what its being used for? We should hang politicians that do things like that! THAT should be treason, not publicly disclosing where the money has been going towards!

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44175599)

Right, they say "Listen, you can't get mad NOW! You guys in Congress ok'd this a half dozen times!" Completely oblivious to the fact that he'd lied to them those half dozen times w/r/t the extent and purpose of the program they were oking.

Sorry to be the cynic (1)

Pollux (102520) | about a year ago | (#44175019)

No, in this case, punishment absolutely has to be a concern. The next time another pompous asshole considers to perjure himself in front of Congress, I want him to remember this guy serving 5-10 years and then reconsider the real consequences of his actions.

But it ain't gonna happen. You know it, I know it, the world knows it. Congress holding liars accountable? Ha!

When you look at our history over the last fifteen years, we've learned that it's OK for the government to lie almost anything...data collection, terrorists, the economy, the banking industry, election financing, the health and general welfare of our armed forces personnel, who has yellowcake, aluminum tubes, and weapons of mass destruction...

But don't you dare lie about getting a blow job.

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44175029)

There is (sadly) a pretty good chance he didn't even know the full scope of what was being collected. The people in Washington that actually do things like talk before congress, typically intentionally do not want to know the details, so they can claim ignorance if push comes to shove.

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (2)

cdrudge (68377) | about a year ago | (#44175133)

No, it will just result in the pompous assholes pleading the 5th and then continuing whatever they were doing, moving to the private but still related sector, and/or retiring comfortably.

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44175271)

During the late 1980's, 800 bank officials went to jail for the Savings and Loans failures. In the last bank collapse, no one went to trial. http://www.frumforum.com/three-years-on-still-no-major-arrests-from-crisis/

Land of the fee and home of the slave.

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (4, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | about a year ago | (#44174595)

What he should do is be thrown in jail for outright lying to Congress. The end.

"Misspoke", my ass.

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44174819)

True. Martha Steward went to jail for mis-speaking. yet this joker blatantly lies and doesn't get a all expenses paid trip to Gitmo for the Waterboarding experience? This is the reality as to "justice" in the united states.

If you are inside the old boys club, you do not get in trouble. If you are outside it, they will punish you.

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (2)

spacepimp (664856) | about a year ago | (#44175295)

Perjury is the term, and it is punishable only up to five years in jail. Sadly Aaron Swartz was facing a lifetime for copying text with intent to distribute from a publicly available publication. Surely the illegal gathering of information on hundreds of millions of citizens (not American people) as they refer to them (citizens have rights) has a similarly punishable crime associated with it. Which will likely not apply/be applied.

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#44175101)

Meanwhile, the kid who outed this lying piece of shit is being hunted down like a dog--all while the U.S. press continues to cheerlead for the government.

Re: It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (5, Insightful)

hsmith (818216) | about a year ago | (#44174721)

Just imagine if he had lied to congress about something serious - like steroids in baseball. Then he'd definitely be looking at jail time!

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44174845)

it means saying with a straight face that there's a 51% the target isn't american or on american soil.
nevermind if the actual intelligence gathering is happening on american soil anyways..

that was the wittingly part anyways. so is he now retracting that they're collecting data if they think there might be a good reason for it? because that's what they were doing - american or not.

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (1)

mmcxii (1707574) | about a year ago | (#44174879)

I wonder how loudly the judge would have laughed if someone like Robert Morris Jr. would have used this as a defense.

"Sorry, your honor, I didn't wittingly bring down the internets."

It would have certainly been much more honest.... Just another case of the powers-that-be defending their own asshattery.

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (1)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year ago | (#44174913)

And WTF does 'wittingly' means ? That you are trying to drown a fish ?

It means he didn't know. Which warrants a public hearing since he was there to know and is part of the often cited "checks&balances".

Did he knowingly lie? The answer to that question is not even remotely interesting considering that either answer will lead to the question of who watches the watchmen. And that answer will be found in a secret court.
I will lose a lot of respect for the US public(and press) if that happens.

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (2)

Bacon Bits (926911) | about a year ago | (#44175017)

It means the NSA is not malicious, merely incompetent.

I feel so much better.

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#44175075)

I wonder if the IRS will start to accept "I misspoke. I unwittingly made an error." on audits in the future.

Re:It's not an 'error', it's a 'lie' (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year ago | (#44175085)

IMO it should be a requirement to be a "Man" if you're going to hold these sorts of positions, be a politician, etc. (capital M, gender neutral, expressing a concept of character, not gender)

A "Man" stands up and admits the truth, has integrity and character, and takes his licks. A man does not lie about lying...none of this "i accidentally misspoke" crap when referring to a blatant lie. No matter how much you may disagree with him, a Man is easy to work and deal with.

But a slimeball will lie about lying, will stab you in the back at the first opportunity, try to get away with anything and never take responsibility for anything, never deal fairly and squarely about anything....your basic politician/power broker.

We need more Honest Men to hold high office.

wrong? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174325)

No.... thats not right. the word required here is FUCKING LIAR!

He either lied like a piece of shit TRAITOR TO AMERICA. Or he's totally clueless.

Either way this is not good.
Lube up the guillotine. It's services are required once again.

Are we not tired of paying fucktons of money for illegal actions by the people who are supposed to be on our side? These guys are worse than terrorists. Terrorists just kill people. These guys ruin lives, familys, and make you pay for it.

Off with his head. We'll put a stop to this shit.

Re:wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174397)

You okay, buddy? Or are you a TERRORIST?

Re:wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174639)

... Off with his head. We'll put a stop to this shit.

Says you and what army? You're right, but Congress will forgive Clapper, because almost none them actually work for the American people: they work for their donors, the super-rich and the corporations. If we want our democracy back (indeed, our world back, since the US is the only remaining super-power), we're going to have to get money out of politics first! And there is a way...

Support WOLF PAC [wolf-pac.com]

Re:wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174969)

See also: www.movetoamend.org [movetoamend.org]

Re: We'll put a stop to this shit. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174669)

No, you won't. You have no power. They have the power. They are laughing at all of you impotent citizens. Go ahead, vote away, it won't change anything. Don't even think about rebellion - that's not an option any more. It used to be, long, long ago; but those in power have solved that problem.

They are watching you (and me too, of course), listening to you, noting with whom you communicate. They can shut you up whenever they like, up to and including disappearing you, your family and everyone you've ever known.

Stop being an idiot, get your head down and carry on working yourself to death to make somebody else rich, like a good obedient American. And smile, and smile, and smile.

Don't try anything, and stop talking like somebody who doesn't want their passport (or liberty) any more. Silly turkey.

Re: We'll put a stop to this shit. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44174851)

You dont understand how many AR-15's and AR-10's have been sold to citizens in the past 6 months. Even bleeding heart liberals have been buying them.

Enough to scare most politicians. I'm scared about the number of untrained and no experience fools that have high power match grade rifles. IT takes brains to safely use these.

Re: We'll put a stop to this shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174949)

You dont understand how many AR-15's and AR-10's have been sold to citizens in the past 6 months. Even bleeding heart liberals have been buying them.

Enough to scare most politicians. I'm scared about the number of untrained and no experience fools that have high power match grade rifles. IT takes brains to safely use these.

I hate to say it, but it requires a reminder every now and then. There are tons of un(der)trained and no (or low) experience fools that can kill you in dozens of ways without an AR-15. Adding the AR-15 into the mix is really just a red herring. The issue is how to make America less foolish.

If you think that taking away all the bad stuff will help, then let me remind you that far more people die due to texting while driving, and you'll never remove cell phones or cars from the fool's arsenal. Or for that matter, bleach and ammonia. Perhaps removing the true case (the foolishness) is a far more difficult task, but it is far more likely to succeed.

Re:wrong? (1)

asylumx (881307) | about a year ago | (#44175155)

Terrorists just kill people. These guys ruin lives, familys, and make you pay for it.

You don't think killing people ruins lives and families?

Re:wrong? (0, Troll)

Fesh (112953) | about a year ago | (#44175373)

So here's the thing... If God doesn't exist and morals are dependent on your personal feelings... Why does lying provoke such an outraged reaction?

Re:wrong? (2)

ibwolf (126465) | about a year ago | (#44175587)

So here's the thing... If God doesn't exist and morals are dependent on your personal feelings... Why does lying provoke such an outraged reaction?

Civilized society functions primarily on the basis of a moral contract between us citizens. Part of this contract is that some citizens wield considerable authority on the premise (and promise!) that they use it for the common good. It is also part of the contract that those individuals are accountable to the rest of us.

When such individuals break the contract (in this case by lying) it should be a cause for outrage. Not because "god" said lying was evil, but because they've abused their position within our society.

Invoking a higher power is neither necessary nor helpful in this situation.

Impeach Clapper. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174341)

He should be charged with some form of perjury.

What's this then? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174343)

He was outright lying to congress (wasn't that under oath maybe?), and now he says he was indeed lying (duh), but that congress really already knew and had agreed to what was really happening? That's quite curious, isn't it?

Then again, there were those congressmen who wanted to repeal FISA after they found out^W^W^Wit had become public what was really going on. Don't these bozos read the laws they're passing? If not, this guy might well be right.

It doesn't make anything that's been happening better, mind. It just makes it worse. Not only are the TLAgencies unfixably out of control, congress apparently is entirely incompetent to do their job. Why do we keep any of those critters around?

Re:What's this then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174381)

So they willingly collection information on millions of American's despite that being anti-constitutional? It doesn't really matter if Congress or the Executive approved it. The constitution is there to protect the populous from the law makers.

Re:What's this then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174425)

Bwahahahaha, in fascist America, no constitution will help you.

Re:What's this then? (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44174901)

So they willingly collection information on millions of American's despite that being anti-constitutional? It doesn't really matter if Congress or the Executive approved it. The constitution is there to protect the populous from the law makers.

it's not anti constitutional if they're suspects.
so what if everyone is a suspect?-D

the point is that they can break laws of other countries and spy on foreigners even if they don't a cause of any kind for doing so.. understandably budgets for such secret actions might balloon just a little bit.

Re:What's this then? (2)

Stolpskott (2422670) | about a year ago | (#44174605)

Why do we keep any of those (entirely incompetent) critters around?

Just borrowed the bracketed comment from your previous sentence, to add weight to the bit I was quoting...
The reason you keep those incompetent/self-serving/corrupt (delete as appropriate, or just leave alone if you think your congressman/woman is all 3) critters around is because you keep voting for the incumbent in the elections for your Congressional Representatives in both houses. Fundamentally, whether one party or the other engages in gerrymandering does not/should not matter - if enough of the voting members of the public say "enough, this person's actions in the House have shown them to be incompetent/self-serving/corrupt, I am going to vote for something, anything, else...", then the presently incumbent will become the previously incumbent Representative.
However, for that to happen... die-hard Republicans might need to vote for a pinko-liberal-commie-muslim-african-gay-transsexual Democrat. Die-hard Democrats might need to vote for a Nazi-nationalist-caveman-fundamentalist-greedy-extremist-Bible thumping Republican. Oh, and the sheeple who normally vote for the one with the best TV adverts might need to break the habit of a lifetime, and form their own opinion.
What would that achieve? Well in many cases, it might replace half way competent representatives who made one or two mistakes with inexperienced first-timers who will make more mistakes. It will probably also bring in a few who are just as, if not more, incompetent/self-serving/corrupt than the ones they are replacing. Such is life. You cannot mandate IQ tests, education on technology, economics, world politics and georgraphy specifically for politicians (it might be a good idea to try, though). But after 3 or 4 iterations (yes, I am saying this process will probably take 10+ years), your elected representatives might actually get the message that if they continue to suck up to the people selling tickets for the gravy train, rather than listening to and serving the will of the people, their political career will be short. By that time as well, there would be a saturation of former members of Congress on the after-dinner speaking circuit, we would not need another biography from a politician, and market forces would mean that they cannot earn the same as a failed one-term politician can do today, because the US government would no longer be as beholden to the big business interests that shell out the serious lobbying money and "campaign donations" that have been present in recent history.

In short, if you get rid of the ones who are not doing their jobs properly, over time the whole group will improve with the realization that failure leads to the exit door, and not to a yellow brick road lined by sacks of money.

Re:What's this then? (4, Interesting)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#44174761)

The problem isn't as much voting either R or D, but that those are the only two choices. Both parties have a vested interest in making you believe that voting anything else is a wasted vote, since, by that logic, if you don't vote R, then D wins. This is only true if both R and D refuse to corporate with a hypothetical third party.

Instead of calling for voters and representatives to change how they operate within the system now, how about calling for a change in the system itself? It is a little bit depressing to see so many tech savvy people completely ignore that the system is built on logic 200 years old, patched up to meet the standards from 50 years ago. Democracy needs a reboot, representative democracy is a solution to a problem we no longer have: speed of communication. What if you could vote on any issue, at any time via an app? Why would you need a representative then?

Re:What's this then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44175015)

Same road, same direction just two different pavements heading one way.

Re:What's this then? (4, Informative)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about a year ago | (#44175255)

This issue was addressed a couple thousand years ago by a man name Plato. The work is called The Republic. You might want to consider reading it because it addresses this exact problem with direct democracy: it ends with the tyranny of the majority where minority opinions don't matter.

That's why we're a Constitutional Republic with checks and balances. At least on paper. That was the original intent of the Founders. What we are today is more or less an oligarchy. Politics here are controlled by a couple families, one Republican, one Democrat. One seems to hold one half of the state and federal offices, the other one holds the rest and occasionally job titles change as they reach term limits or get elected to a federal post.

Re:What's this then? (1)

WinstonWolfIT (1550079) | about a year ago | (#44175395)

It's not a democracy, it's a republic, and has always been. A republic suppresses the rabble, by design.

He didn't know he would be caught he meant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174347)

He was wrong? So being a director he doesn't know what goes on? I am sure he authorised it or had a hand in authorising it for such an operation of such scale and depth.

Hang every director out to dry involved in it.

Now (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#44174353)

Now tell him to stop doing things which make the American people angry.

Secure the internet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174371)

Is this perhaps the decade that the rest of the world finally takes notice that encryption is not just for cold war governments? Maybe now enough party's will finally get interested in sorting out real cybersecurity once and for all.

A SIMPLE WAY TO SPOT A LIE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174379)

One does not stroke one's bald, wrinkled head and lower it half-way while saying, "we are not collecting data on Americans", "Nope, not us", "and if we do, it's not because we want to", "Nope, not us".

Want more of this ?? Wait for the Zimmermann Solution series finale to air, then this is sure to come in as a late-summer show !! And you won't find this in Russia !! Not in China, nope !! Not in bum-fuck Egypt !! Nope !! Bin Laden started it, but that dwarfs what happens when you fuck yourself so many times over and over again !!

Damnedby if you do, damned if you don't (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174385)

What if the testimony of General Clapper was simply a rouse? Think about it. After the revelation of Edward Snowden, there was substantial press about how all three branches of government knew of the program and that it was supported by each with classified checks and balances. If this is the case, then why would the Senate Intelligence Committee ask General Clapper so bluntly about a classified program in a public setting? Honestly though, I could see where that testimony in particular may have set off Snowden. Here he was working with these programs while he watched the head of an intelligence agency bluntly deny them. I could imagine he felt betrayed and felt that it was important to right that wrong.

Re:Damnedby if you do, damned if you don't (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174399)

Question now is, will General Clapper be held in contempt or be conveniently swept aside. The answer to this will empower generations of conspiracy theorists to come...

This guy is not the story anymore (5, Insightful)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year ago | (#44174393)

Whatever.
The story isn't that the GCHQ/NSA spied on everybody and shared data to circumvent checks and balances. At least it isn't anymore.
Now the story has become what the Western World truly is. And I find the sight horrifying.
It is a safe assumption that ALL secret service type of organisations have directly or indirectly profited from this jolly old mess. The mass snooping on private citizens barely got a reaction from head politicos of all parties involved. But once the story broke that official buildings may have been bugged everybody scrambled to voice their indignation.
Meanwhile the guy who unearthed what we all suspected but never had proof for is handled like a hot potato. Hong Kong let him go because extradition papers were not only late but also weren't filled out properly. The US officials couldn't be arsed to put passport number or his full and korrekt name in the form. If you were that sloppy with your tax forms you would be potentially facing a prison sentence.
Russia offers political asylum and smugly adds that it is conditional on him not further embarassing "our US partners".
France, Spain and Portugal refused the president of Bolivia to pass their air space because he might have Snowden on board. Yet everybody complains about what he had published. Meanwhile every western country declines to offer asylum based on technicalities. Yet when they buy stolen bank records for hefty sums they also grant the whistleblowers immunity and possibly a new identity. The sheer two-facedness is ghastly.


Reading today's news reads like a declaration of bankruptcy of the western ideals and we will all have to do our homework in the aftermath of this mess. When this is all over the only ones without egg on their face will be Russia and China of all places!
And we, the people, discuss Snowden's girlfriend's tits and now about who lied when about what instead of taking responsibility of our elected dear leaders.

Re:This guy is not the story anymore (1)

MM-tng (585125) | about a year ago | (#44174471)

Yes, I feel like this for a while now. Waiting for the last drop to fall :).

Re:This guy is not the story anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174577)

Well said.

Re:This guy is not the story anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174663)

The mass snooping on private citizens barely got a reaction from head politicos of all parties involved. But once the story broke that official buildings may have been bugged everybody scrambled to voice their indignation.

Now you know how it felt when you barely reacted as long as it was only the foreigners who got spied on. You guys are not our friends anymore.

Re:This guy is not the story anymore (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year ago | (#44174697)

The story here is that Clapper flat out lied under oath to Congress. So everything he said, ever, is no longer credible.

Re:This guy is not the story anymore (5, Insightful)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year ago | (#44174745)

Oh come on. As if anybody remotely connected to any secret service had any credibility to begin with.
This is what this whole mess is about. We can't even pretend everything is a-ok anymore. Snowden has forced us to face the music and that's why he is hunted and whistleblowers who sell bank records of tax dodgers get millions and a medal.

Re:This guy is not the story anymore (5, Insightful)

Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) | about a year ago | (#44174713)

Sadly, this is more insightful than it is comfortable to admit to the average "westerner". But I think history will show us that ideals are just this - ideals, not reality. Reality is hard (albeit virtual) cash, useful connections and art of sociopathy. We may not like it, but it is time to accept that Declarations of Independence or of Human Rights are simply well-worded texts without some real power behind them.

And that power is gone now - Nelson Mandela is just some cool old guy, Martin Luther King Sr. is some dead copyright pusher and Che Guevara is nothing more than a terrorist, righteously executed for his crimes. There is no driving force behind ideals and ideas, and no leader charismatic enough to create such force. So we'll have to accept this new reality and be thankful that someone in the government still admits something. Soon even that wouldn't be necessary.

Re:This guy is not the story anymore (1)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year ago | (#44174841)

Nobody ever lived up to his ideals ever. Not if those ideals were worth it to begin with.
We stopped trying to achieve our ideals and that's sad.

Now I know that it always was only a select few who tried to achieve anything but in the past they always dragged us sorry lot along with them. That doesn't seem to happen anymore.

I haven't followed the news on that but I'd bet there is an ongoing investigation what service could have stopped two public schoolboys who out of a vague sense of being let down by the American Dream took it upon themselves to blow up the Boston marathon. If you want to be safe from random acts like that you will also have to name the freedoms you are willing to give up. And that is the reality nobody wants to face and that's why we let our three-letter-acronyms run amuck. That's not the fault of our elected leaders. That's our fault. As in "us the people".
Wherever we live.

Re:This guy is not the story anymore (3, Interesting)

Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) | about a year ago | (#44175163)

You are absolutely correct, but one question remains - what can we do? What can we hope for, if there are no real "selected few" - some are trying to become ones but then they are casted down faster than last-year one-hit bands. Take Snowden - in popular opinion he is just "drama queen", "whiny idiot" or even outright "traitor".

Here, in Russia, there are examples of that too - many of the so-called "opposition leaders" are just crazy ass-clowns, and others are too idealistic to be accepted as true leaders. One of the most scary things in modern Russia is that Putin is really the most popular politician in this country, and this status quo is not going to change anytime soon.

So the question remains - what can we, the people, do? What real power do we have today? My own answer for today is "just wait until this broken system destroys itself from inside", but it still may well outlive me. Not a shiny perspective, I must say.

Re:This guy is not the story anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174937)

Incredibly well written. Sums up the story nicely. If there were such a thing as Truth, Justice, and the American Way this would be on the Front Page of the New York Times, not in a /. comment.

I'm reminded of Ayn Rand's statement that Capitalism [and therefore Freedom] failed not from a lack of opportunity but from a lack of a Philosophy. I never had any use for philosophy until I read her. I never cared about some fool's ramblings that nothing is real, nothing is knowable, or that the unquestionably Evil is the proper course for "enlightened" individuals. ^^^THIS^^^ is the end result of our lack of objective philosophy. The truly amazing part is she saw all this coming in 1950 - a time most of us would think of as "the good old days".

Re:This guy is not the story anymore (1)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year ago | (#44175411)

Yeah, well, I don't give a flying fuck about about Ayn Rand's particular brand of Objectivism since I think there are a couple of observations she didn't take into account. My thoughts about that I will only offer over a couple of beers and not on Slashdot.

Moving on, this is not about "Truth, Justice and the American Way" but even higher up the totem pole of our ideals. This goes even beyond why we had "habeas corpus" in the Magna Charta. This is us being targeted without being accused of something, without facing our accusers and even without a specific suspicion. We are targeted to CREATE suspicion. Now Magna Charta/The Provisions of Oxford are the often cited basis of our values. We just seem to have stopped to remember why those were significant and why we remember then nearly a thousand years onwards.



Just to add some trivia: Magna Charta was written by the nobility to increase the rights of the nobility opposed to John Lackland. They put the significant bits near the end. Due to his weakness against his nobility King John had already offered the Pope sovereignty over England a couple of years before that. And thus the Pope declared Magna Charta null and void. Lackland's son Henrry III reinstituted it as a symbol for a fresh start and during another nob rebellion had to sign the Provisions of Oxford. The Provisions of Oxford were interesting because they were the first written somewhat democratic quasi-constitution in England. For about a year in the 13th century England was what passed as a democracy in the middle ages. Which is why the ringleader Simon de Montfort adorns the wall of the Chamber of the US Houses of Representatives.
Which is why it is vitally important to know history so we don't forget why we do what we do.

Perjury? (1)

indytx (825419) | about a year ago | (#44174465)

I wonder if this was a policy hearing or an investigative hearing. If it was an investigative hearing he should have sworn an oath to tell the truth. If what he says is true, I am troubled that the director of national intelligence did not know of the data collection. I don't believe what he's now saying, but if it's true then WTF is going on? Otherwise, he lied to Congress and was caught. On a related note, why is intelligence policy being reviewed in a public committee? He should have just refused to answer on national security grounds.

fucking politics as usual (5, Interesting)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#44174477)

You may get mad and say why not call it what it what it is, a lie, but there is a reason for doing it this way.

On the surface it looks like he is trying to cover his ass, perform damage control

Happens all the time in politics, and makes sense, on the surface.

However, I think there is a deeper reason. One, news that makes some of the public upset comes out. Step one is to deny. This gives the public what they want to hear, that it isn't true. Most go back to TMZ, or whatever other crap they do. Then when the lie is outed, you try to soften it some by saying it was a mistake, an erroor, or I misspoke. Some people will go WTF, but most are no longer paying attention. If enough are, you also have a scapegoat, the liar who misspoke. You can then, if needed chastise him/her in some way, placating another percentage of the public that is still paying attention (most aren't by now). By the time this is all done, the percentage that had the attention span and desire to follow it this far have dwindled down. Now the few that are left are left shouting into the wind, because the are too concerned with the celebrity du jour, or the sports scores to be bothered.

Now the few that are left that care are looked at like tinfoil hatters, and conspiracy nuts. Meanwhile things are back to business as usual.

Re:fucking politics as usual (1)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year ago | (#44174553)

There is always the chance that he really didn't know about this and the secret three-letter acronyms are running amuck. I'd gladly take a lying bastard over that particular prospect.
Who watches the watchmen? Not us, obviously.

Re:fucking politics as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174611)

There's also a chance that every year on the 25th of December, a fat man uses a sled and a bunch of reindeer to fly to every home with a child and deliver presents.

Re:fucking politics as usual (2)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year ago | (#44174951)

So if he actually lied then isn't the true story that the system of checks and balances that held the secret community at bay has failed? He was part of that. You know reporting to Congress and all?
I'd say that is the bigger picture instead of hanging just one guy.

Re:fucking politics as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174997)

There is always the chance that he really didn't know about this and the secret three-letter acronyms are running amuck. I'd gladly take a lying bastard over that particular prospect. ...

It is a good rationalization, but it was his responsibility to know what's going on under his watch. In short, he should be held accountable for either lying or the responsibility he shirked. I say make both punishments equally damaging. In my limited understanding, ignorance has never been a legal defense.

Two More Strategies (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year ago | (#44175269)

Then when the lie is outed, you try to soften it some by saying it was a mistake, an erroor, or I misspoke.

Don't overlook the other responses like one of the authors of the Patriot Act, Jim Sensenbrenner's response [house.gov] :

As the author of the Patriot Act, I am extremely troubled by the FBI’s interpretation of this legislation. While I believe the Patriot Act appropriately balanced national security concerns and civil rights, I have always worried about potential abuses. The Bureau’s broad application for phone records was made under the so-called business records provision of the Act. I do not believe the broadly drafted FISA order is consistent with the requirements of the Patriot Act. Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and un-American.

Oh, so now instead of taking responsibility as the author of that which has threatened your constituents it's the fault of those who interpreted the law incorrectly. Surely, then, you will go after those who interpreted the law incorrectly for breaking the spirit of the law? No? You don't say ...

Or perhaps you'd like to hear George W. Bush's take on his responsibility [cnn.com] for his administration allowing the Patriot Act to be passed:

Asked about an NSA program that tracks people's Internet activity, Bush said, "I put that program in place to protect the country. One of the certainties was that civil liberties were guaranteed."

So, we have another slam dunk certainty that civil liberties were guaranteed and as long as you keep saying that, it's true in your own little reality that no one else shares with you! Thank god those were guaranteed, right? RIGHT?

All part of the master plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174575)

Director admits wrong
Media spreads
Snowden thinks it is time to return to Murica with mission completed
He gets sacked, waterboarded and body cremated
??????
Life resumes as normal and ppl think NSA is now ok.

Hi did not "misspeak". He lied. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174591)

There's a difference.

Far less (5, Insightful)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about a year ago | (#44174599)

"telling Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein that his statement was "clearly erroneous.""

You mean it was clearly a lie, and you were caught. Clapper should be charged with perjury, they've done so when baseball players lied to congress about taking performance enhancing drugs how can lying to congress about illegal/unconstitutional activities that adversely effect millions of Americans merit any less? By the way, I'm noticing no official response yet on the "Pardon Snowden" White House petition. Not that I'm expecting much, I'm just curious to see what BS they parade about to justify their imprisonment of a person for minor classification violations when they do nothing about the thousands of illegal/unconstitutional acts that the whistle-blower reveals.

Re:Far less (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174979)

Perhaps it is time to ask the gun-nuts what they need their guns for again.

Re:Far less (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44175181)

Perhaps it is time to ask the gun-nuts what they need their guns for again.

Unless they need their guns for shooting out microphones, guns will be of little use. If the worst and most paranoid fears of the gun nuts come true and the US govt. tries to kill them it will be done with a JDAM or a Hellfire missile launched from a drone. Their pile of guns will be of little use, as the Taliban have already learned from painful experience. To fight off a drone strike you'll need to have a vehicle mounted SAM launcher parked in your garage. The affordable option is to hide or drop off the grid and the Taliban/Al Quaeda are now also learning just how easy it is to track you down when you rely on a communications network controlled and universally bugged by the USA. Your immediate options are to (a) Use encryption for all your comunications, which is effective but makes you stick out like a sore thumb in the ocean of unencrypted traffic, (b) set up your own off-the-grid comms system like the Mexican cartels have tried to do (preferably fully encrypted), which will probably be neutralized and/or penetrated pretty quickly or (c) go back to pre-industrial methods of communication, i.e. messengers and letters which Al Quaeda has done with some success but which is pretty inefficient. The the current challenge is to develop option (d) some immaginative way of using mainstream communication paths for encrypted communications in a distributed way while remaining well hidden and difficult to trace by the AI/datamining methods the NSA uses. From what I hear Al Quaeda and friends are already hard at work on this problem

Re:Far less (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44175005)

.... when they do nothing about the thousands of illegal/unconstitutional acts that the whistle-blower reveals.

They're not? I thought they were hunting the whistleblower down so that they can convict him in a kangaroo court an lock him up for 30 years?

Mass surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174635)

You cannot simply say *everyone is a suspect*, then collect *everything*, the store *everything* on *everyone* and then data mine that for possible 'terrorist' attacks.

The judiciary are the real problem here, the military WILL ALWAYS grab power. Thailand has long experience of that. Give them an inch and they will always take a mile. I can't even say [delete] 2010 [delete] [actually I'll end this sentence here for reasons of... nevermind]. This is you future, where you can't say the truth because [deleted].

It's not enough for the FISA court to say "yeh, sure take all the data on everyone and analyze it, I trust you not to abuse this data.". Because the judiciary role is not to trust, but to verify each and every case.

You can't trust a military leader who lies to Congress, because HE LIES TO CONGRESS! FFS! Of course he's untrustworthy. Jacob Appelbaum (?) once called General Alexander a fucking liar. He is. We know he is. He's a nice man, believes he's right, believes he's saving the country from all kinds of evils, but he's a fucking liar undermining basic freedoms, Every one of these psycho dictators, they're always right, they always think their doing good.

I bet the judicial branch didn't even know the NSA was saving all this in a big database. I bet the secret nature of this let the military simply stick it in a big database and not tell the judicial branch. Hence the lies and obstruction to shut down any third party challenges or discussion.

Blatant Lie (5, Insightful)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year ago | (#44174715)

Wyden's people submitted that very question to Clapper days before the hearing even began. He was invited to append and revise his remarks after the hearing. He did neither.

If he still has his job a few weeks from now, that will be confirmation that neither Congress nor the White House have any effective control over the US Organs of Security.

Least untruthful, or mistake? pick one (3, Interesting)

doas777 (1138627) | about a year ago | (#44174821)

Clappers office has previously released a statement that his answer was "least untruthful" he could make it, because the program was classified. this clearly implies that he was aware that the statement was false at the time he made it.
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130610/09473723393/clapper-my-answer-to-wydens-beating-your-wife-question-data-surveillance-was-least-untruthful-answer.shtml [techdirt.com]

Today the statement is, "I misunderstood", implying that at the time, he believed the statement he made was factual.

So, which is it? These statements appear contradictory

Solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44174839)

Seems he lacked intelligence. The obvious solution is to found a new Federal Directorate for Intelligence about Intelligence Agencies, an agency that allows leaders of intelligence agencies to gather knowledge about their agencies in a nationally secure way!

I suggest a starting budget of 15 billion dollars, but more money might needed later. Oh, by the way, in order to prevent any further recursion I suggest to make me, Anonymous Coward, head of this new agency. An anonymous coward does not have to stand justice to public scrutiny and congressional oversight, hence it will be unnecessary to him to make lame excuses when he screws up.

When does the second ammendment kick in? (1)

fredrated (639554) | about a year ago | (#44174975)

I mean, we've got the guns, are we just going to sleep with them?

Order of importance (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44175007)

Lie about breaking the rules of a game that ultimately affects no one - trial for perjury and obstruction of justice. (Barry Bonds)

Lie about violating the constitution that affects nearly 100% of the citizens of this country - "Oops!" And resign.

Sounds fair.

Link to more than one word from Clapper (1)

CByrd17 (987455) | about a year ago | (#44175053)

It seems most have already made up their minds about this topic. However, I was curious about what he actually said...

I RTFA and found it lacking in that detail, only quoting the single word "erroneous" from his correction attempt.

This link has more about his rational: http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/308979-clapper-apologies-for-erroneous-statement-to-congress-on-us-data-collection [thehill.com]

Re:Link to more than one word from Clapper (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year ago | (#44175291)

I am not sure how the information in that article changes anything, but then I have been following this case since he testified (even then it appeared to me that he was lying, although I did not at that time have any information which proved that to be the case). Clapper's "defense" for making the statement will eventually work its way around to claiming that if he had answered that question truthfully it would have eventually led to him being asked questions which no matter how he answered he would be revealing information he was oath bound to keep secret. If the question he answered with a lie had been an unexpected question, I could see how some people might accept that defense. However, Clapper was aware that he was going to be asked that question, which means that he had time to come up with a truthful answer which would have ended the line of questioning before it revealed classified information (something along the lines of, "Yes, but I cannot answer further questions about this in a public hearing as some of the details are classified and even truthful non-answers to some questions would reveal classified information.")

So... perjury charges are.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44175145)

I assume that he will be changed with perjury since he was under oath at the time?
I won't hold my breath.

Not going to stop (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#44175215)

Here's the thing that gets me. They will go on and on about how wrong something is, that they lied and they may even admit that it's illegal and unconstitutional at some point. But what WILL NOT happen is that it will not stop. Presidential Candidate Obama promised to get rid of and undo all the crap that Bush and Co. set up and then President Obama not only forgot his promises but made things worse.

I think that until the dark, hidden forces that are actually making these things happen are exposed, nothing will change. The puppets will enter and leave various offices, but the root cause will remain.

mispoke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44175301)

Clapper admitted this statement was 'erroneous.'

We normally call this "a lie"

Gunkerty Jeb working for the man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44175313)

Nice word selection there mate!!!

I see what you did there.

I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44175579)

This guy lied, knew he was lying, got caught, why should we believe him now when he says he's sorry? No one should even believe anything he says as he himself admits to deliberate perjury whenever it is convenient.

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