James Clapper is evidently concerned Donald Trump is dangerous. The former director of national intelligence questions the president’s “fitness for office” and believes he behaves in such an erratic manner that he might bomb North Korea and bring on Armageddon. Further, via Bridget Johnson:
Clapper slammed “this behavior and this divisiveness and the complete intellectual, moral and ethical void that the president of the United States exhibits,” and wondered “how much longer does the country have to, to borrow a phrase, endure this nightmare.”
Wow!… Well, Clapper should know something about “ethical voids.” He also should have a good idea how long we will “endure” anything, nightmare or otherwise, because he knew what nearly every one of us said on the phone or wrote in our emails and texts at any time — or could have found out, if he had wanted to, almost instantly.
This is clear although Clapper tried to hide the truth by telling one of the most egregious lies I have ever heard from the lips of an American official, a lie meant to cover up an action by our government so evil it makes the lies of Obama, Hillary, or Trump almost inconsequential. Virtually every U.S. citizen is now under some level of surveillance by our intelligence agencies — our privacy is dead — but James Clapper tried to deceive us all about it and make us think it isn’t so.
But don’t believe me. Believe Wikipedia, which seems to have it right in this instance:
On March 12, 2013, during a United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing, Senator Ron Wyden quoted NSA director Keith B. Alexander’s keynote speech at the 2012 DEF CON. Alexander had stated that “Our job is foreign intelligence” and that “those who would want to weave the story that we have millions or hundreds of millions of dossiers on people, is absolutely false…. From my perspective, this is absolute nonsense.” Wyden then asked Clapper, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” He responded, “No, sir.” Wyden asked “It does not?” and Clapper said, “Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly.”
When Edward Snowden was asked during his January 26, 2014, TV interview in Moscow what the decisive moment was or why he blew the whistle, he replied: “Sort of the breaking point was seeing the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress. … Seeing that really meant for me there was no going back.”
Pretty stunning in the era of “unmaskings,” no? How do you spell “creeping totalitarianism”? I’m no fan of Edward Snowden, but it’s easy to see how a young man with his knowledge would react the way he did to the egregious prevarication by the director of national intelligence.
Reading the entire Wikipedia entry is instructional. It’s almost a Comedy of Lies on Clapper’s part. But here’s just a sampling:
On July 1, 2013, Clapper apologized, saying that “my response was clearly erroneous—for which I apologize.” On July 2, Clapper said that he had forgotten about the Patriot Act and therefore had given an “erroneous” answer.
On December 19, 2013, seven GOP members of the United States Senate’s House Judiciary Committee called on Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate Clapper, stating “witnesses cannot be allowed to lie to Congress.”
In January 2014, Robert S. Litt, general counsel to the Office of the DNI, stated that Clapper did not lie to Congress, and in May 2015 clarified that Clapper “had absolutely forgotten the existence of” section 215 of the Patriot Act.
Caitlin Hayden, a White House spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement that Obama has “full faith in Director Clapper’s leadership of the intelligence community. The Director has provided an explanation for his answers to Senator Wyden and made clear that he did not intend to mislead the Congress.”
So clearly, Clapper — the DNI who “forgot” the Patriot Act — got away with lying to Congress, gracias à Obama. And now we are supposed to believe Clapper’s alarmist characterization of Trump.
To many of us, the former DNI represents everything wrong with our government. He is The Swamp squared — or perhaps cubed. Although no doubt he believes at least some of his calumnies and exaggerations, I have a theory about why he’s making them and it’s simple. Clapper wants do everything possible to deflect attention from his own dishonesty onto whomever (Trump, in this instance) in order to resurrect his own reputation.
The bigger question is why anyone is listening to him. Perhaps they’re so accustomed to lies at this point, they’re disinterested in the truth. Or even prefer them.
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His latest book is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already. He tweets @rogerlsimon.