Clapper’s Edict

I see that Sensenbrunner asked Holder why Clapper has not been indicted for perjury.  Good!  As the congreesman said, "What more do you need than his admission that he lied under oath?"

At the same time Clapper has issued an edict against anyone in the IC speaking to the press without permission.  That was always the rule.

When he and his predecessors ruled the roost in DIA, reporters were often given the opportunity to talk to analysts, including me, with "minders" from the PAO office.   These talks were always at the request of the reporters and DIA's interest in them was really a courtesy to the press.  The talks were at the unclassified level.  Since I oversaw the work of the whole group of ME/South Asia in DIA I knew what went on in all these meetings.  There was no instance I know of in which a DIA official or anyone from the JCS or OSD tried to influence what the analyst said.  The OSD civilians occasionally disagreed with the analysts but never interfered or tried to silence. Other than that kind of thing people were forbidden to talk to the press and did so at their peril.

As has been observed here, open source information is the bedrock of the information base from which analysts work.  Contrary to the egotistical belief of many policy people who think themselves as capable of dealing with data, the intelligence analysts' minds are the true weapons in the intelligence business, not secret information.  As I have said before, secret infomation is often useful but it is not the base of the data pool.  

When Clapper and his predecessors were heads of DIA the agency periodically ran conferences at some off-site place where analysts, academics, journalists and other DoD people assembled for a couple of days to discuss world affairs and frankly to exchange information. I ran one of these conferences.  The benefit to the work of our analysts was considerable.  Once again, nobody tried to use the analysts at these meetings to spread propaganda to the press.

The level of WH pressure that brought Clapper to issue this redundant directive must have been impressive.  pl 

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18 Responses to Clapper’s Edict

  1. Charles I says:

    I know how you feel about oaths and secrets. The column I cited makes no mention of the WH and I wonder if any of this is because Clapper himself is aware of potential damage from within, i.e., people still in service are fed up tothe point of leaking.

  2. Basilisk says:

    PL, et al,
    I think perhaps this “edict” has been spun a bit by the press and other interested parties. I have read the edict and I’m not sure it really introduces any new draconian rules.
    You are certainly right about the value of open source, and I don’t believe we’re really about to seal the analysts up in a hermetic cocoon. Professor Henri Barkey of Lehigh weighed in on this today in a WaPo editorial entitled, entitled “Stuck in an Intelligence Bubble,” but he described an Intelligence Community I do not recognize.

  3. turcopolier says:

    But you accept my depiction of press relations in DIA when we were there? pl

  4. Basilisk says:

    I do.

  5. turcopolier says:

    I met Barkey at a war game. he is some sort of of Levantine academic sleaze. He followed me around asking me questions designed to expose my ignorance as a barbarian soldier analfabeto. He seemed disappointed. He has never been in intelligence. pl

  6. JohnH says:

    Sensenbrenner asks a great question. But really, who is it that is going to prosecute Clapper for perjury?
    It makes you wonder who is really in charge in Washington.

  7. robt willmann says:

    The idea that the White House pressured Clapper into making a redundant directive on contact with the media is troubling when paired with the earlier post, “CIA power play ousts DIA chief”. I could not make sense out of the Washington Post story on Gen. Michael Flynn and David Shedd leaving until I found out today that the director of the DIA is apparently appointed by the president and confirmed by the senate–
    This would seem to mean that he can only be “forced out” by the president, and not by the DNI. According to the DIA website, Gen. Flynn and the civilian deputy, Shedd, will depart the agency and retire by early fall 2014. This statement in turn seems to mean that they will not only leave the DIA, but will retire from the military and government employment, respectively. The other deputy, a senior enlisted advisor, is Chief Master Sergeant Troy Eden, and no mention is made of his leaving.
    The DIA website further says that the director of the DIA is the intelligence advisor to the secretary of defense and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.
    Therefore, what is going on here? It may be similar to what was in that British memorandum that leaked about the 2003 invasion of Iraq, that the intelligence information was being fixed around the policy, or words to that effect. The White House, meaning the president and those with influence on him, want to act out certain policies and will want “intelligence” to give cover to the implementation of those policies. Dishonest and fraudulent intel can be used to justify to the public certain actions, perhaps as relate to Ukraine, Syria, Iran, Guatemala, Venezuela, etc.?

  8. Fred says:

    Barack Obama, constitutional lawyer, won’t uphold his oath? Maybe congress should impeach him.

  9. jonst says:

    The Col wrote: ” Contrary to the egotistical belief of many policy people who think themselves as capable of dealing with data, the intelligence analysts’ minds are the true weapons in the intelligence business, not secret information. As I have said before, secret infomation is often useful but it is not the base of the data pool. ”
    True enough! Wise words! But I would argue that the *perception* of access to ‘secret information’ can be marketed to small and inexperienced minds–and there are many of them around–as indicating power. And the perception of power, in a skilled headhunter/lobbyist/marketer et al hands becomes a money making machine. And money and careerism are the predominate forces in the Acela Corridor.

  10. RetiredPatriot says:

    If Holder refuses to go after bankers and hedge fund managers for the plain and obvious fraud and insider trading they commit daily, you can be sure he won’t go after Clapper either. Small fry like check kiters, welfare cheats, pot smokers and Occupy protesters? Well, we know who occupies our prisons, no?
    Becoming less the America I thought I knew and defended every day. (Or perhaps I am becoming better educated by the hour?)

  11. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Col. Lang, Basilisk;
    Barkey is a sephardic jew from Turkey where he completed his K-12 education. He graduated from Robert College high school in Istanbul. He was a big media supporter of the current turkish islamists. writing many articles about the democratic islamists and undemocratic Turkish Armed Forces. MSM headlines him as a Middle-East expert. I regard him as a neocon propaganda tool and hasbara purveyor. “Sleaze” is an apt, understated description.
    Ishmael Zechariah
    P.s: Turkey is continuing to simmer. There is talk of expecting some movement in Syria.

  12. jon says:

    It seems that there is a far greater penalty for lying to Congress about possible personal use of steroids, than there is in admitted lying about issues of national security. Congressional action relies on having accurate information, and the veracity of high government officials is of paramount importance. If it takes a Congressional investigation to determine if Clapper lied on his own initiative, or was directed to, then that is what should happen. This is a bigger issue than Benghazzi. I didn’t expect action by Holder, but I am a bit surprised that Obama has not forced Clapper’s resignation.

  13. turcopolier says:

    In re Barkey. thank you. pl

  14. Harper says:

    Eric Holder is derelict in his duties. He has actually issued a letter, now known as the Holder Doctrine, which says that no top bankers shall be prosecuted because of potential damage to the financial system. What could be more damaging than bankers who gamble and launder criminal money and then turn around demanding taxpayers bailouts to the tune of trillions of dollars? Holder is not the chief law enforcement officer of the nation. He is the “bodyguard of lies” protecting Obama and anyone else in the Administration who commits a constitutional crime. He is the first Attorney General to have ever been held in contempt of Congress, and he has shown contempt of the Courts by claiming he does not have to defend himself on the contempt charges. The defense of Clapper is typical of the actions of Holder. I know many people who served with him as US Attorney in Washington DC and they are stunned at his transformation into a politically corrupt coverup artist. Anyone who gets too close to the Obama family inevitably suffers morally and spiritually.

  15. Charles I says:

    In lieu of searching April archives for a more DIA thread just happened upon this letter to WAPO.
    The May 1 news article “Top 2 DIA officials will step down” included a wildly inaccurate description of Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn as someone whose “vision . . . was seen as disruptive,” according to one anonymous source, and whose “management style could be chaotic,” according to unnamed “critics.”
    I have served with Flynn in peace, crisis and combat and have served in the DIA on multiple tours for multiple directors. Flynn is by far the most inclusive, collaborative, transparent and results-oriented leader I have known in 31 years as an intelligence professional.
    DIA has never been better postured for today and tomorrow.
    Paul Becker, Fort Belvoir
    The writer, a Navy rear admiral, is director of intelligence for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
    Whatever does it all mean?

  16. turcopolier says:

    Charles I
    “I recall reading accounts of similar activity on the Durrand Line.” Actually this was pretty ordinary activity among US attaches who were area specialists. I don’t claim to have been unique in doing things like this. Someone described the breed as “cowboy sophisticates.”
    “Whatever does it all mean?” As I told you, Flynn was screwed by the WH and CIA. pl

  17. PL and others I missed this brilliant post and thread while under attack from shingles! Thanks to all!
    My question is slightly different in that the Senate Committee should have referred Holder for prosecution by DoJ [DoJ still final decider on whom to prosecute] and that referral voted on by full Senate.
    As with the Roman Senate in the time of Caesar they are largely a supine group but as Caesar learned they can be killers individually or collectively from time to time! At least with respect to careers.

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