Tag Archives: James Clapper

Rand Paul: Deep State Exists, Uses Intelligence for Political Purposes

Washington, D.C.— Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said Tuesday during an appearance on The Laura Ingraham Show podcast that the term “deep state” accurately describes how an unelected bureaucracy of national security officials in positions of power exert influence without Congressional oversight.

“Absolutely, there is a deep state, because the deep state is the intelligence agencies that do not have oversight,” he said. “Only eight people in Congress know what they’re doing, and traditionally, those eight people have been a rubber stamp to let the intelligence communities do whatever they want. There is no skeptic among the eight people that are supposedly overseeing the intelligence community.”

The “Gang of Eight”  that Paul referenced is made up of the majority and minority leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate, along with the chairmen and ranking members of the two intelligence committees, and are the select few members of Congress with real-time access to America’s most sensitive intelligence.

[RELATED: Reality Check: Ex CIA Director Says U.S. Meddles for a ‘Good Cause’]

Paul pointed out that he believed Obama-era CIA Director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and others used intelligence collected “without any judicial warrants” for political purposes, in addition to “try to bring Trump down.”

“John Brennan and James Clapper were doing whatever the hell they wanted, without any judicial warrants, and I think there were numerous people in the Obama administration who were using intelligence — one, to try to bring Trump down; but two, also, they were using it for political purposes,” he said. “And this is very, very worrisome.”

Paul evidenced his point by noting Brennan’s politicized tweet over the weekend calling Trump a corrupt demagogue, and promising that America would “triumph” over him.

“This is the real problem,” Paul said. “And [founding father James] Madison warned about this from the beginning. Madison said that men are not angels. And all you gotta do is look at John Brennan’s tweet to know that he’s not an angel. And listen to James Clapper lying to the Senate about whether they were spying on Americans.”

Paul previously tweeted that Brennan’s attacks on the “Bill of Rights” and “freedoms of every American” while running the CIA were “disgraceful.”

Further solidifying Paul’s point about “men are not angels,” Samantha Power, former UN Ambassador under President Obama, issued an ominous tweet: “Not a good idea to piss off John Brennan.”

Many took this tweet by Powers as an implicit threat on behalf of Brennan. After strong social media backlash following her tweet, Powers sent a follow-up tweet that aimed to walk back the implied threat she had first issued.

Rand Paul’s commentary starts at roughly 21:30 in the podcast below.


DNI’s Lawyer Claims James Clapper Forgot About NSA Spying During Misleading Testimony

Following news that a federal appeals court has ruled the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records illegal, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s attorney is pushing back against allegations that he lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2013 when he told Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) that the NSA does not “wittingly” collect any type of data on millions of Americans. Clapper’s misleading testimony, which can be seen in the above-embedded YouTube video, came just before Edward Snowden leaked information about the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ cell phone records to the public.

According to The Hill, Office of the Director of National Intelligence attorney Robert Litt said at Friday’s meeting of the Advisory Committee on Transparency, “This was not an untruth or a falsehood. This was just a mistake on his part… We all make mistakes.”

Litt claimed that Clapper did not have adequate time to prepare for the question prior to the hearing and said, “We were notified the day before that Sen. Wyden was going to ask this question and the Director of National Intelligence did not get a chance to review it… He was hit unaware by the question. After this hearing I went to him and I said, ‘Gee, you were wrong on this.’ And it was perfectly clear that he had absolutely forgotten the existence of the 215 program.” Litt said that Clapper thought Wyden was talking about the NSA’s 702 program, in which records of Americans’ web activity are sometimes unknowingly swept up in digital dragnets aimed at spying on foreigners.

Litt said that he made a mistake by not sending a letter to the Senate committee clarifying the error, considering the fact that he claims to have told Clapper after the hearing that the statement denying the 215 program’s bulk collection of Americans’ metadata was wrong.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has previously stated that Clapper should be fired and criminally charged for lying to the Senate and said to CNN, according to The Hill, “I find really that Clapper is lying to Congress is probably more injurious to our intelligence capabilities than anything Snowden did because Clapper has damaged the credibility of the entire intelligence apparatus, and I’m not sure what to believe anymore when they come to Congress.” Paul continued, “And I really think that in order to restore confidence in our intelligence community, I think James Clapper should resign.”

Dishonesty, Deceptiveness, and Disservice – Why Snowden Chose to Become a Whistleblower

Former contractor with the National Security Agency, and famous whistleblower, Edward Snowden, recently spoke out in an interview with Wired Magazine. In addition to discussing how he first became involved with the NSA, Snowden also revealed what made him decide to bring light to the agency’s actions.

While there were many instances when Snowden considered “whistleblowing,” he finally chose to do so after hearing the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, tell Congress that the NSA does “not wittingly” collect data on millions of American citizens.

While Clapper’s testimony to Congress struck Snowden as corrupt, he noted that his colleagues did not appear shocked. This made Snowden realize that he was getting too deep into an “evil” system.

Snowden compared the “Clapper event” to the story of “the boiling frog,” where “You get exposed to a little bit of evil, a little bit of rule-breaking, a little bit of dishonesty, a little bit of deceptiveness, a little bit of disservice to the public interest, and you can brush it off, you can come to justify it.”

However, justifying the dishonesty “creates a slippery slope that just increases over time, and by the time you’ve been in 15 years, 20 years, 25 years, you’ve seen it all and it doesn’t shock you,” said Snowden. “You see it as normal. And that’s the problem, that’s what the Clapper event was all about.”

Snowden pointed out that Clapper “saw deceiving the American people as what he does, as his job, as something completely ordinary.” Even when Clapper lied under oath, “he didn’t even get a slap on the wrist for it.”

Snowden concluded that the scenario of James Clapper, “says a lot about the system and a lot about our leaders.”

When Snowden made the choice to release the NSA documents, he did so knowing that consequences would follow. “It’s really hard to take that step,” said Snowden. “Not only do I believe in something, I believe in it enough that I’m willing to set my own life on fire and burn it to the ground.”

If the government will not represent our interests, then the public will champion its own interests,” insisted Snowden. “And whistleblowing provides a traditional means to do so.”

When looking back on his decision to release the classified NSA documents, Snowden admitted that he was worried about what kind of reaction the public would have. “I thought it was likely that society collectively would just shrug and move on,” said Snowden.

Despite any apprehension Snowden might have had, the information he released caught the attention of both the public and the government. The existence of the program Prism, which allows government agencies to take information from companies such as Google and Microsoft, was one of Snowden’s largest revelations.

It depends a lot on the polling question,” said Snowden. “If you ask simply about things like my decision to reveal Prism, 55 percent of Americans agree. Which is extraordinary given the fact that for a year the government has been saying I’m some kind of super villain.

Although it has been over a year since Snowden released the first NSA documents, he maintained that the agency still hasn’t fixed their problems.

They still have negligent auditing, they still have things going for a walk, and they have no idea where they’re coming from and they have no idea where they’re going,” said Snowden. “If that’s the case, how can we as the public trust the NSA with all of our information, with all of our private records, the permanent record of our lives?”

“The question for us is not what new story will come out next. The question is what are we going to do about it?”

Senate Removes Drone Strike Disclosure From Intelligence Bill

Washington-  The United States Senate has removed a vital section of a major intelligence bill that would have compelled the Obama administration to publicly disclose the number of people killed or injured by US drone strikes.

The removal of Section 312 from the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 was partially due to opposition from director of national intelligence James Clapper, who wrote in a letter to the Senate that such disclosures would “require context and be drafted carefully so as to protect against the disclosure of intelligence sources and methods or other classified information.” Clapper also wrote that “the Executive Branch is currently exploring ways in which it can provide the American people more information about the United States’ use of force outside areas of active hostilities.”

Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was the originator of the drone disclosure provision but also agreed to remove it. Feinstein, a supporter of drone strikes, said in 2013 that the number of civilians killed by drones has been in the “single digits”.  That estimate has been challenged by many, including U.N. Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson, who told NBC News that civilian casualty numbers are in the hundreds.

The section of the intelligence bill that has been removed would have offered more transparency that Obama has promised in his campaign and throughout his presidency. Critics of the removal of the drone strike disclosure consider this action discouraging. “How many people have to die for Congress to take even a small step toward transparency?” asked Zeke Johnson, Amnesty International’s human rights program director. “It’s stunning that after all these years we still don’t know how many people the Obama administration has killed with drones.”

Amnesty International USA director Steven W. Hawkins said that “a basic report on the number of people killed shouldn’t be too much to ask.”

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NSA Used “Loophole” to Search Americans’ Electronic Communications

In a letter to Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR),  Director of National Intelligence James Clapper acknowledged that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been exploiting a “loophole” to search through the electronic communications of Americans without a warrant. “These queries were performed pursuant to minimization procedures approved by the Fisa court and consistent with the statute and the fourth amendment,” Clapper wrote in the letter.

The so-called loophole, in Section 702 of FISA, allows thorough searches of communications of suspected foreign terrorists outside of the United States without a warrant which includes reading emails and listening to phone conversations. But monitoring of communications between suspected terrorists and Americans is what has come under criticism- monitoring Americans in addition to non-American suspects falls into a vague area of what is allowed under Section 702.

Senator Wyden and Senator Mark Udall (D-CO), both critics of government spying, have voiced concern that such searches are “unacceptable”. “It raises serious constitutional questions, and poses a real threat to the privacy rights of law-abiding Americans. If a government agency thinks that a particular American is engaged in terrorism or espionage, the Fourth Amendment requires that the government secure a warrant or emergency authorization before monitoring his or her communications. This fact should be beyond dispute,” read the Wyden-Udall statement.

This admission from Clapper directly contradicts a statement President Obama made last June when he said, “Nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That’s not what this program is about. As was indicated, what the intelligence community is doing is looking at the numbers and durations of calls. They’re not looking at names and they’re not looking at content.”

As it turns out Americans are indeed having their phone calls and emails sifted through, and in the statement from Wyden and Udall they responded to Obama’s past statement by saying, Senior officials have sometimes suggested that government agencies do not deliberately read Americans’ emails, monitor their online activity or listen to their phone calls without a warrant. However, the facts show that those suggestions were misleading, and that intelligence agencies have indeed conducted warrantless searches for Americans’ communications using the ‘back-door search’ loophole in section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.”

Wyden and Udall are both calling for a closure to this loophole, but the Obama administration has said that obtaining warrants is “burdensome” and time consuming.


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Clemency for Snowden? Greenwald calls out D.C. media in fiery debate – Video


After both The New York Times and The Guardian editorial boards published editorials asking for clemency or at least a deal for whistleblower Edward Snowden, the debate continues. Is Snowden a hero or a traitor?

This week, on CNN with host Jake Tapper, a fiery debate broke out between Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus and Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald controls the majority of Snowden’s leaked documents.

Marcus told Tapper that Snowden should have tested the constitutional system and taken his punishment instead of fleeing the country.

This did not sit well with Greenwald who fired back at Marcus and condemned the Washington media establishment.

“Ruth Marcus’ argument exemplifies everything that’s really horrible about the D.C. media … People in Washington continuously make excuses for those in power when they break the law,” said Greenwald.

“People in Washington who are well-connected to the government, like she is, do not believe that the law applies to them … That’s what people in Washington do. They would never call on someone like James Clapper, who got caught lying to Congress, which is a felony, to be prosecuted. They only pick on people who embarrass the government and the administration to which they are loyal like Edward Snowden. It’s not about the rule of law,” he added.

Greenwald stated that Snowden knew there was no way inside the system to make his fellow citizens aware of what their government was doing to their privacy.

General Michael Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency, said on Sunday’s Face the Nation that Snowden doesn’t deserve our adulation.

Hayden pointed out that Snowden, who he said was responsible for the “most serious hemorrhaging of American secrets in the history of American espionage,” has openly offered to leak additional information to the governments of Germany ​and Brazil in exchange for asylum. “I think there’s an English word that describes selling American secrets to another government, and that’s ‘treason,’” Hayden said.

In late November, clemency for Snowden was shot down by the White House and leading House and Senate intelligence officials. The Guardian reported that the Obama administrator was offering no deal; they wanted Snowden to return to the United States to face trial.

Despite the Obama administration’s position, there is a dramatic trend shifting in Snowden’s favor as new NSA revelations come out. A top Obama official, Anne-Marie Slaughter, the former State Department director of policy planning, said she agreed with an editorial in The New York Times that argued Snowden was “clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on this kind of intelligence-gathering was to expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work his superiors would not.”


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