Obama Picks Clapper For Panel To Review Programs That He Previously Lied About Before Congress

220px-James_R._Clapper_official_portraitPresident Barack Obama was widely ridiculed last week for his latest effort to quiet public unrest over his massive warrantless surveillance programs. As we discussed, Obama made statements on the program and Snowden that were disengenuous at best and viewed by civil libertarians as facially dishonest. His main “reform” was the rather laughable suggestion that his Administration, once again, would review itself and he would create yet another hand-picked committee to monitor his unchecked authority. While some of us said that Obama’s comments showed almost open contempt for the intelligence of the public and the independence of the press, nothing prepared us this week for his announcement on who would head the review: National Intelligence Chief John Clapper. That’s right. Clapper, the man who admitted to lying before Congress on these programs and has been protected by Congress and Attorney General Eric Holder from a perjury charge. The White House announced Clapper’s selection on Monday and Clapper issued a statement announcing his intention to find a way to preserve national security while “maintaing the public trust.” On Tuesday, the outcry over Clapper’s selection led the White House to try to backpedal and explain this insulting appointment. The White House now says that Clapper will not “lead” the panel and that it will remain “independent” even with his looming presence.

It was the latest outrage from America’s new Animal Farm system. His selection shows the low level of respect for voters in this city and the virtual absence of any fear of confrontation by either Congress or the press in this Administration. It is, to put it simply, a disgrace. Rather than being charged with a virtual admission of perjury, Clapper will review the very programs that he lied about. He is also the person who has been overseeing and using these programs.

What is most unnerving is that Obama is not even trying to make a serious effort at evasion. He simply wants to create some review that can be cited by congressional allies as an excuse for not taking any action in the face of the erosion of privacy.

Clapper said that he will head the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies which will “assess whether, in light of advancements in communications technologies, the United States employs its technical collection capabilities in a manner that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while appropriately accounting for other policy considerations, such as the risk of unauthorized disclosure and our need to maintain the public trust.” The wording is telling. Notice how national security is the primary of focus and privacy is not even directly mentioned. Rather, it is part of a secondary category of risks and concerns over the public trust. Indeed, it seems that “maintaing the public trust” is the more pressing concern as it was with Obama’s comments. Obama insisted that if he had simply created this meaningless committee before the recent scandals, the public would not have been upset by the Snowden affair. The panel will restore public trust by being a panel committed to restoring the public trust.

Once again, the White House seemed entirely surprised that anyone in the media or public would object to a plan of the President. The White House on Tuesday back pedaled and insisted that Clapper would not run the entire show and would have limited powers as part of this overall review. Instead, the Administration insisted that “the panel members are being selected by the White House, in consultation with the intelligence community.” Now that’s a closed circle. The panel will be selected by the White House accused abusive surveillance in consultation with the community accused of carrying out the abusive surveillance. I can see why the White House seems so surprised by the response. Why on Earth wouldn’t the public trust be maintained?

147 thoughts on “Obama Picks Clapper For Panel To Review Programs That He Previously Lied About Before Congress”

  1. Well when obamas done screwing up the US maybe he can find work here…….

    Rep. Stockman invites Obama rodeo clown to perform in Texas
    By Ed O’Keefe, Published: August 14 at 4:45 pm



    A conservative Texas lawmaker is inviting a rodeo clown banned from the Missouri state fair to perform in the Lone Star State instead.
    Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Tex.) says that the unidentified rodeo clown and his colleagues have been unfairly targeted by liberals “to create a climate of fear.” He invited them to come perform at a fair in his southeastern Texas district instead.
    “Liberals want to bronco bust dissent. But Texans value speech, even if its speech they don’t agree with,” Stockman said in a statement issued by his office Wednesday. “From Molly Ivins to Louie Gohmert and every opinion between Texans value free and open political speech. I’m sure any rodeo in Texas would be proud to have performers.”

    Missouri state and fair officials reacted swiftly over the weekend after a rodeo clown donned a mask of President Obama and asked people if they want to see the president “run down by a bull.”
    State Fair officials labeled the show “inappropriate” and said it “does not reflect the opinions or standards” of the fair.
    Stockman said Wednesday that the reaction was typical of liberals.
    “The liberal reaction is straight out of (Saul) Alinsky. They want to crush dissent by isolating and polarizing anyone who questions Obama, even if it’s a rodeo clown with a harmless gag,” he said. “The idea to create a state of fear and make people afraid to trivialize Obama. No one tried to personally destroy the rodeo clown who wore a George H.W. Bush mask.”
    Stockman represents a new district in the southeastern corner of Texas that was created as a result of population growth tabulated during the 2010 census. He was first elected to Congress in 1994, but only served on term, and was reelected last year. He’s an outspoken conservative critic of Obama, who said in January that he was willing to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president if the White House implemented new restrictions on firearms through executive action.
    Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

  2. Court: Ability to police U.S. spying program limited
    By Carol D. Leonnig,

    The leader of the secret court that is supposed to provide critical oversight of the government’s vast spying programs said that its ability to do so is limited and that it must trust the government to report when it improperly spies on Americans.

    The chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said the court lacks the tools to independently verify how often the government’s surveillance breaks the court’s rules that aim to protect Americans’ privacy. Without taking drastic steps, it also cannot check the veracity of the government’s assertions that the violations its staff members report are unintentional mistakes.

    “The FISC is forced to rely upon the accuracy of the information that is provided to the Court,” its chief, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, said in a written statement to The Washington Post. “The FISC does not have the capacity to investigate issues of noncompliance, and in that respect the FISC is in the same position as any other court when it comes to enforcing [government] compliance with its orders.”

    Walton’s comments came in response to internal government records obtained by The Post showing that National Security Agency staff members in Washington overstepped their authority on spy programs thousands of times per year. The records also show that the number of violations has been on the rise.

Comments are closed.