One of the biggest failures of the United States Congress, IMHO, has been the refusal to hold Executive Branch officials accountable when they lie to Congress on vital matters of national security.  And no case angers me more than that of James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence under President Barack Obama, who held a series of high-level intelligence positions during his long career as an Air Force officer.  

Clapper, during his tenure as DNI, lied to Congress when directly asked if the intelligence community was spying on millions of innocent American citizens.  His lies were exposed with the release of the Edward Snowden documents.  While several individual Members of Congress called for his resignation and a few even dared to demand his prosecution for contempt of Congress, nothing happened.

More recently, Clapper again lied to Congress, in claiming that the intelligence community findings about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections were compiled by all 17 member agencies.  In later testimony in May 2017, he belatedly admitted that the report was compiled by the FBI, the CIA and the NSA, and that the authors had been hand-picked to conduct the study.  According to Robert Parry in Consortium News, one of the FBI agents who participated in the study was Peter Strzok, a Trump-hater and Hillary Clinton partisan who was fired by Robert Mueller last July after an investigation by the Department of Justice Inspector General revealed his biases.

I recall comments over the years by Col. Lang about his personal experiences with Clapper while at the DIA in the early 1990s.  I am interested in Col. Lang's and others' comments and observations.


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  1. blowback says:

    All Clapper’s actions may have been for nothing – the Trump-Putin Love In is on a roll:
    Putin thanked Trump for CIA tip-off which helped Russia prevent terror attack
    Trump to Putin: US was glad to save many lives in Russia by helping foil major terrorist attack|

  2. voislav says:

    There has been a trend in the recent presidential administrations (Clinton, Bush II, Obama) to use highly suspect legal interpretations to evade legal restrictions imposed by laws. Clapper is by no means an isolated example, he is just more visible.
    Using Clapper as an example, he defended his lying by saying that he gave a truthful (or the least untruthful) answer according to his definition of “collection of data”. According to him, collection of data meant that the data was actively examined by the intelligence personnel, not just passively collected and stored for later use. So, in his view, data is only being “collected” if it’s actively used and to the best of his knowledge, there was no illegal use of the data.
    Clapper’s defence is predicated on allowing that such redefinition of a common term like collection is reasonable and therefore there was no intent to deceive. I am sure he had a similar reasoning for what “compiled” means in the context of the 17 agency report.
    Similarly, Bush administration famously decided to redefine torture to exclude enhanced interrogation techniques. Obama administration redefined “imminent threat of violent attack” to mean any threat for purposes of assassinating American citizens. Obama also changed the meaning of “military coup” to mean “only those military coups that are recognized as such by the administration”. None of these act have been challenged in court, so their legality is still quite dubious.
    This weaseling removes the effective checks on the executive power. Clapper is just an example in a larger pattern by the recent administration officials of using similar or even more brazen techniques to evade their legal responsibilities. This situation is bound to escalate until the judiciary and the courts put a stop to it by prosecuting such behaviour. The problem is that there is little incentive for a new administration to prosecute such behaviour by past administrations as they like the expanded executive power themselves and have historically had no interest in restricting it.

  3. Huckleberry says:

    Because we are ruled by an alien elite through a constellation of unaccountable institutions protected by a collection of corrupt and completely interchangeable officeholders who supposedly represent the interests of an obese, drug-addled and digitally-distracted mob of useless eaters.
    And because too many of the best among of us have been shamed into silence and inaction through a series of blood libels (slavery, genocide, patriarchy) that have been used to condition our children into hating themselves, their parents and their civilization.

  4. The Porkchop Express says:

    I’ve only ever heard rumors about Clapper but it dovetails with the Colonel’s and others’ previous descriptions: an inveterate liar and ass-kissing social climber. The optics remain terrible. It does nothing but further the perception that, whether right or wrong, there exists a two-tiered system of justice in the US.
    Draw a penis in the sky with a fighter jet and you will be held accountable.
    Lie to the public about mass surveillance and there’s a cushy board position along with image rehabilitation in store for you.
    A bit of hyperbole but, still, there’s about a million other examples like this from the last two decades or so. Not just in government, either. Media, Business, Entertainment, Education, etc… Elites/Borg will be facing a reckoning sooner or later if there isn’t any modification in behavior, or at the very least the perception of a modification of their behavior.

  5. MRW says:

    I recall comments over the years by Col. Lang about his personal experiences with Clapper while at the DIA in the early 1990s. I am interested in Col. Lang’s and others’ comments and observations.

    I’m interested in them as well. Just to enjoy what this sonofabitch thought he was getting away with, because every time he talked (on TV in public like the grand poobah he pretended he was) he acted as if he were telling us the truth and was derisive in his comments.
    I never bought a goddam thing this oily SOB came up with.

  6. blue peacock says:


    Good question. Any ideas why?

  7. Divadab says:

    Why should we expect people who lie as a default position to care if their man Clapper lies to them? They consider hearings, speeches, etc. to be public theatre to gull the masses and Clapper a particularly avuncular actor in the show. The proles like that folksy aw shucks Clapper persona.
    The people who will ‘get’ Clapper are certainly not elected officials, imho.

  8. turcopolier says:

    Pork Chop
    “an inveterate liar and ass-kissing social climber.” SWMBO says that “incompetent” should be added to your encomium. I have “form” with this fellow. I found him to be very insecure, jealous and envious of his subordinates (sigh), and afflicted with a strange animosity for anyone who could possibly be called a WASP. Nevertheless my main complaint about him from the long ago is that he destroyed DIA as a world class strategic intelligence agency. He came from USAF with a deep disdain for anything that was not air targeting and files about air defense weapons. He drove the carefully educated and selected corps of ME analysts out of the agency. At the end of the first Gulf War DIA’s analysis “bestrode the world.” It was the gold standard. He destroyed that. pl

  9. Bill H says:

    Lying to Congress is not something that Congress or the DOJ actually cares about because the hearings are a places where speeches are made by Congresscritters and the questions are merely the hooks upon which the speeches are hung.
    No one listens to or cares about the answers except insofar as a careless answer can be used to impale the answerer, such as publicly impaling a general for using the wrong honorific in calling the Senator “Ma’am” instead of by the title that she “worked very hard for many years to earn.”
    It can, of course, be used more harshly to severely punish an out of favor minion for crimes about which the “deep state” actors actually do care but which are not on any law books, such as not adequately promoting the official story line.

  10. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Your complaint could be equally made about UK government or the French government.
    I mean, after all the detailed analysis that David Habakkuk has supplied on this forum in regards to both the murder of Litivenk as well as the Steel Dossier, why aren’t any heads rolling in the United Kingdom (or does none need the Privy Council to step in to cleanup that mess?).
    Indeed, the gravity of the latter, being nothing less than enabling the mouthing a soft coup in the United States, thus potentially destabilizing a linchpin of global security, resulting in the deaths of perhaps millions, would warrant, in my opinion, the merciless application of Hara kiri to all those involved.
    Yet nothing has happened.

  11. Harper,
    Clapper never made the 17 intel agencies claim. That was Clinton and a lot of MSM types. The report itself was very clear on who produced it.
    “This report includes an analytic assessment drafted and coordinated among The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI ), and The National Security Agency (NSA), which draws on intelligence information collected and disseminated by those three agencies.”
    Clapper is as Colonel Lang describes him. My only run in with him was when he tried to “reorganize” Defense HUMINT in an attempt to weasel his way back into a government position. The effort was pretty damned transparent to me. And his bold-faced lie about not spying on US citizens was exceedingly stupid and duplicitous. He was told this question would be asked before the testimony and he still managed to royally screw the pooch.

  12. Plan A: Because President Clinton and the compliant media would cover for him.
    Plan B: Because we’ll get President Trump out and the compliant media will cover for him.
    Plan C…..

  13. TV says:

    Clapper is a swamp creature.
    When did the swamp start indicting it’s loyal minions?
    Dems, Republicans, Intel. Community, lobbyists, bureaucracy – all facing a common threat; Trump and the “deplorables.”

  14. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Perhaps it’s an instance of injelititis, as first described by C. Northcote Parkinson in Parkinson’s Law and Other Studies in Administration: Incompetence and jealousy interacting to reinforce each other according to the formula I squared times J cubed.

  15. LeaNder says:

    That’s how I recall it too, TTG. Surfaced for me in one of the much watched election campaign debates as a claim by Clinton. …
    But generally I am very, very much with Mrs Lang: “SWMBO says that ‘incompetent’ should be added to your encomium.!”
    As I recall it was the most disconcerting statement for me the outsider at the time. On the other hand I cannot remember it drew much attention here in the post debate discussions. Only gained momentum as focus of attention later.
    But I am still undecided, if I should consider it a deliberately misleading, manipulating statement chosen to score a debate point. Or if it simply showed her incompetence.
    Anyway: a complete consent within 17 agencies sounded definitively more like a information dictatorship. Never mind there was a DNI.

  16. Emad says:

    “Why isn’t James Clapper behind bars?” isn’t the right question. That ship’s long sailed and isn’t coming back i.e. one justice systems for ordinary people, another for the indispensable is well ingrained into the fabric of the U.S. polity.
    The right question is what the plebs can do about it, knowing that “official” accountability is all but dead.

  17. J says:

    Looks like Finnish government is eager to put a thumb in their apparent Intelligence leaking dam.
    Finland’s Largest Newspaper Faces Treason Charges For Publishing Leaked Files On Spy Ops Targeting Russia

  18. Mark Logan says:

    On the lying to Congress over the data collection, I will opine the reason for the lack of prosecution: It’s because the laws passed by Congress specifically approve the data gathering, laws passed after 9/11, signed by George W Bush, who proudly proclaimed “we intent to get everything” in reference to date in his first SOTU address to standing applause.
    An effort to prosecute Clapper for lying about what they themselves have no excuse not to be aware of could backfire rather badly on Congress. The legal can of worms for Justice in pursuing such prosecution would be impressive as well.
    Congress passed these laws and lacks the stones to retract them. And We The People refuse to punish them for it. I have no liking of Clapper…but I believe if we prosecute him while not changing those laws, laws which clearly state the government has the legal power to collect this data, We The People would be hypocrites.

  19. The Porkchop Express says:

    You have “form”? I’m not familiar with that expression. Out of curiosity, what does it mean precisely?

  20. Max says:

    I remember those midnight telephone calls.

  21. Crosley Bendix says:

    On the other hand, he is the only prominent government figure to let us know about the Russian threat to our pure American Reich:

  22. blue peacock says:

    David Stockman on Russiagate. It seems he is speaking for a lot of people who are beginning to ask what is really going in Washington DC. Do we have a case of national security institutions run amok?

    There was a sinister plot to meddle in the 2016 election, after all. But it was not orchestrated from the Kremlin; it was an entirely homegrown affair conducted from the inner sanctums—the White House, DOJ, the Hoover Building and Langley—-of the Imperial City.
    Likewise, the perpetrators didn’t speak Russian or write in the Cyrillic script. In fact, they were lifetime beltway insiders occupying the highest positions of power in the US government.
    Here are the names and rank of the principal conspirators: John Brennan, CIA director; Susan Rice, National Security Advisor; Samantha Power, UN Ambassador; James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence; James Comey, FBI director; Andrew McCabe, Deputy FBI director; Sally Yates, deputy Attorney General, Bruce Ohr, associate deputy AG; Peter Strzok, deputy assistant director of FBI counterintelligence; Lisa Page, FBI lawyer; and countless other lessor and greater poobahs of Washington power, including President Obama himself.

  23. turcopolier says:

    Good to see you here old friend. pl

  24. Wagenfeld Russ says:

    It is indeed good to see you here.

  25. turcopolier says:

    old DIAers
    The “best” thing he ever said to me was that I reminded him of his father. That, obviously, was not a compliment. pl

  26. turcopolier says:

    British cop show talk. Means “a record” in americanspeak. pl

  27. The Porkchop Express says:

    Duly noted, thanks.

  28. robt willmann says:

    The problem of lying before Congress points up the two parts of the issue: 1) the law, and 2) the process, procedure, people, and organizations (PPPO) through which the law is applied and enforced.
    Unfortunately, even if “the law” is carefully and precisely worded, the PPPO can make it meaningless and worthless.
    Since a Congressional hearing is a federal proceeding and is on federal property, the federal criminal law applies. As far as perjury and its sister — obstruction of justice — are concerned, here are two papers from the Congressional Research Service you can read to get a good understanding of the federal law in this area.
    The first one is “Perjury Under Federal Law: A Brief Overview”, from 2014, and is 21 pages–
    The second one basically includes the article on perjury. It is entitled “Obstruction of Justice: An Overview of Some of the Federal Statutes That Prohibit Interference with Judicial, Executive, or Legislative Activities”, and is also from 2014 by the same author. It covers areas in addition to perjury, is comprehensive, and is 89 pages–
    Who is responsible to investigate, file charges, and prosecute perjury, obstruction of justice, and other legal violations before Congress? The short and slightly general answer is the Department that Calls Itself Justice.
    In any consideration of people who hold themselves out as being from the “intelligence” community who may be observed tap dancing before Congress, names such as former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden, former NSA director Keith Alexander, and John O. Brennan could well be in the mix.
    For example, here is a little video of U.S. Representative Henry “Hank” Johnson (Dem. Georgia) back in 2012 asking Keith Alexander a few basic questions. This bit of testimony could be a funny parody and comedy sketch, were it not so real and outrageous–

  29. Robert says:

    If you are getting your information from ZeroHedge you should take the time to learn more about its history and who owns the domain and site.
    Here http://nymag.com/guides/money/2009/59457/
    And here http://streetwiseprofessor.com/?p=5728

  30. I slogged through the seven pages of the NY Mag piece and find it to be the standard “he said, she said” hit piece which slaps mocking statements in between alleged facts to basically declare the whole subject unworthy of anyone’s time because it’s all “conspiracy theory”.
    In short, it’s crap. Don’t bother reading it.

  31. J says:

    Congressional Christmas present to the American people:
    The Spy Coalition In Congress Rushes Through Plan To Keep The NSA Spying On Americans | Techdirt

  32. blue peacock says:

    Who is going to win this tug of war between Congressional investigators and the FBI, DoJ and the IC “putschists”?

    After Eight Hours Of Testimony And More Scheduled For Thursday, Congressional investigators tell Fox News that Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe dodged questions on the “Trump-Russia” dossier, and his testimony “contained numerous conflicts with the testimony of previous witnesses” so much that the House Intelligence Committee is planning to issue new subpoenas next week to Justice Department and FBI Personnel….
    …“It’s hard to know who’s telling us the truth,” said one House investigator after McCabe’s questioning – which was reportedly spearheaded by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC).

    There’s a lot of stonewalling going on. Are the loyalties of Sessions and Wray with the coup plotters or the rule of law? Why are Strzok and Ohr still on the taxpayer payroll?

  33. LeaNder says:

    standard “he said, she said” hit piece
    puzzling paradigm, Rsh, at least in combination with hit piece. But yes, why not? … Those standards in the by now obviously unmasked MSM always covers up the one and only truth? If it surfaces at all it does according to this standard: the truth, if given a chance to surface anywhere at all, is mostly buried somewhere along the way most frequently at the very, very end?
    mocking statements in between alleged facts to basically declare the whole subject unworthy of anyone’s time because it’s all “conspiracy theory”.
    Well, yes, different perspectives, or a more thorough look at clashing perspectives*, may hinder the ‘prototypical’ American, if I may, no harm meant, who acts instead of moving to close into the reflective ‘Hamletian’ mindset? A true American is unwilling to waste time pondering about being or not being? He acts. He’ll do his very, very best to drain the swamp.
    * there is no doubt some influence groups are a lot more powerful than others, to pick one aspect only. But will that ever change?

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