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Sep 23 2014

I’m a liar, A Liar, A LIAR!

CIA’s John Brennan Refuses To Tell Senate Who Okayed Spying On The Senate

by Mike Masnick, TechDirt

Mon, Sep 15th 2014

As you may recall, over the past few months, there’s been a rather big story brewing, concerning how the CIA spied on Senate staffers. Specifically, after having explicitly promised not to do so, the CIA snooped on a private network of Senate staffers who were putting together the giant $40 million report on the CIA’s torture program. The CIA tried to spin the story, claiming that they only spied on that network after realizing that those staffers had a document that the CIA thought it had not handed over to the staffers (they had), believing that perhaps there had been a security breach. However, when read carefully, the CIA’s spin actually confirmed the original story: the CIA, against basically all of its mandates and the basic concept of the Constitutional separation of powers, had spied on the Senate. While both the Senate and the CIA asked the DOJ to investigate, eventually the DOJ said the matter was closed and there would be no prosecutions.

At the end of July, the CIA finally came out and admitted that it had spied on the Senate, and effectively admitted that CIA boss John Brennan had flat out lied about it back in March. The CIA’s inspector general then revealed that the spying went even further than people had originally believed. This raised even more questions, but with Brennan “apologizing” and Senator Dianne Feinstein saying that she was satisfied with the apology, it seemed like this unfortunate incident may have been over and done with.

Apparently not. Last week, in the latest meeting concerning the torture report redactions, apparently some Senators asked Brennan to reveal who authorized the spying on the Senate staffers, and Brennan refused to tell them, leading to a bunch of very angry Senators — which may create some further issues, given that the Senators are supposed to oversee the CIA.



The McClatchy report suggests that in the meeting, Brennan “raised his voice at Feinstein.” Senator Levin noted that the CIA’s response to this whole thing is bogus, because even if there is an independent investigation (set up by the CIA) going on, it doesn’t mean that Brennan himself gets to shirk his responsibility to answer questions coming from the Senate committees that oversee his activities.



Of course, the big question is, what will the Senate do about this other than make a lot of noise? Brennan seems to be banking on “absolutely nothing,” and he may be right.

Clapper changes his story on false statements to Congress on bulk collection

By Meredith Clark, NBC News

09/18/14 11:33 AM

It’s a problem when the director of National Intelligence can’t seem to get his story straight.

Speaking Thursday at the Intelligence and National Security Summit in Washington, D.C., James Clapper said that the intelligence community has not willfully violated the law, an assertion which documents and information from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden contradict.



But last year, in an interview with NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell, Clapper took a different approach to his tense March 2013 exchange with Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden. When Wyden, a Democrat, asked if the NSA gathers “any type of data at all on millions of Americans,” Clapper responded “No,” and “not wittingly.” After a Guardian report contradicted that statement, Clapper said he gave the “least untruthful” response to a complicated question.

Wyden’s office confirmed that not only had Clapper received Wyden’s questions in advance, but that he had been offered the chance to amend his answer after the public hearing, but did not do so. Wyden has been a leader in legislative efforts to reign in NSA spying.

Clapper Denies Lying, Announces New Ethics Policy

By Dan Froomkin, The Intercept

9/18/14

An unapologetic James Clapper bristled at accusations of misconduct in front of a trade group today, announced that he intends to continue serving as national intelligence director through the rest of the Obama presidency, and released a new “National Intelligence Strategy” (.PDF) that includes a “Code of Ethics” that seems disconnected from the reality of intelligence collection as revealed by Edward Snowden.

Speaking in public, but in a friendly setting, Clapper mocked the notion of intelligence collection without risk, the potential for embarrassment or invasion of privacy. He snidely called it “Immaculate Collection.” (see NBC video.)



“While we’ve made mistakes, to be clear, the IC [intelligence community] never willfully violated the law,” he insisted.

And he complained bitterly of being “accused of lying to Congress.”

Clapper flat-out lied to Sen. Ron Wyden during a Senate hearing in March when he said the NSA does not wittingly “collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.”

Clapper has previously said he “responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner by saying no.”

On Thursday, he said he had been falsely accused of lying “because of a mistake and trying to answer on the spot a question about a specific classified program in an unclassified setting.”

His audience was made up mostly of contractors who do, or want to do, business with the intelligence community. One question from the audience: “You have a very supportive private sector in front of you. What is your most pressing need?”

Clapper said his people have failed to come up with ways to continue accessing critical intelligence without the sort of bulk data collection that was disclosed by Snowden.

“If you have ideas of how we can find the needles without having the haystacks, I’m all ears,” he said.

And I’ll lie again.

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