Thursday, December 26, 2013





Opaque

As the USA's ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice proved a lightning rod for Repub complaints about the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.  Apparently, she has learned some things about how to be, well, diplomatic.

An interview presented on Sunday on 60 Minutes featured this exchange between Rice and longtime correspondent Lesley Stahl:

Lesley Stahl: According to an article in the New Yorker, every time there’s been a question about putting restraints on the NSA up to now, the president has sided with the intelligence community.

Susan Rice: What the NSA and our intelligence community does as a whole is designed to protect Americans and our allies. And they do a heck of a good job at it.

Lesley Stahl: Officials in the intelligence community have actually been untruthful both to the American public in hearings in Congress and to the FISA Court.

Susan Rice: There have been cases where they have inadvertently made false representations. And they themselves have discovered it and corrected it.

If "corrected" means clarifying a statement revealed to be untruthful, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (and that's not former DNI director) did in fact correct a statement he made to Congress in June (though surely he did not "discover" it).  At least Rice didn't claim anyone "apologized."

At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in March, Clapper was asked (video, below) by Ron Wyden (D-OR) “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”  He answered "no" but when pressed, clarified "not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect, but not wittingly."







After the hearing- according to a spokesman for Wyden- the Senator's office contacted Clapper's office, which "acknowledged that the statement was inaccurate but refused to correct the public record when given the opportunity."  Nearly four months later, on July 2, Clapper maintained that he now could speak truthfully because two newspapers had reported the NSA spying, following is disclosure to them by Edward Snowden.   "I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or at least untruthful, manner," he contended."

But as Jonathan Turley( law professor at the finest college in the USA) noted, "many of the senators who heard that testimony knew it was a lie because they admitted later to knowing about the NSA program to gather data on every citizen." Clapper knew of the spying and inaccurately testified about it to Congress in March.   When the DNI chief was (cliche alert) caught by Edward Snowden with his pants down, he claimed he responded in what he contended was the "least untruthful" manner he could- to a question he had been informed in advance that Wyden would ask.

Susan Rice says "they themselves have discovered" and "corrected" what she euphemistically terms "false representations."  But as Wyden has told the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza, however, "There is not a shred of evidence that the statement ever would’ve been corrected absent the Snowden disclosures.”

Susan Rice covers up for James Clapper.  They both still work for a guy whose websites enthusiastically pledged commitment to transparency.  As a presidential candidate, it was identifying "making government accountable to the people" as " a cause of my life for two decades.   As president-elect, it was to "strengthen whistleblower laws" and make "government more transparent."  As a newly inaugurated President, it was "to making his administration the most open and transparent in history..."     And four years later, it was the President himself protesting "This is the most transparent administration in history.

Rice and Clapper are part of a government which includes Eric Holder, the attorney general who has prosecuted more whistle blowers than all combined who have served before him. And it all points to Barack Obama, the man with good intentions and frequently little else.



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