Paul: Clapper’s crimes are more injurious to US than Snowden’s

posted at 8:01 am on December 19, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer focuses this segment with Senator Rand Paul, who has certainly been vindicated more than he probably expected by Barack Obama’s task force on NSA surveillance, by asking whether he plans to sue the NSA to stop the more egregious programs identified by the Edward Snowden leaks. Paul’s reaction to the report and to the earlier federal court ruling are about what you’d expect. Keep going past, though, to the discussion about Snowden and NSA chief James Clapper. Paul argues that while Snowden broke the law, Clapper’s perjury is a far more damaging crime (via Real Clear Politics):

“If they are going to come to us and lie,” Paul says, “it really damages their credibility” when it comes to claims about the necessity of their surveillance.  Josh Gerstein at Politico has more on that this morning from the task force’s report, which didn’t exactly find a great track record from these surveillance programs:

But the big changes the committee is calling for may be less vexing for Obama than one painful, half-buried conclusion: Vacuuming up all that data the National Security Agency collects in its call-tracking database, the panel says, hasn’t actually done much to protect the country from terrorism. …

The review group’s finding that the much-debated metadata program hasn’t really accomplished much isn’t mentioned in the report’s executive summary or any of the 46 recommendations, but it appears, in an understated tone, about a third of the way into the 300-plus-page document released by the White House on Wednesday.

“Our review suggests that the information contributed to terrorist investigations by the use of section 215 telephony meta-data was not essential to preventing attacks and could readily have been obtained in a timely manner using conventional section 215 orders,” the report says.

In a footnote a few pages later, the panel members are even more blunt: “The section 215 telephony meta-data program has made only a modest contribution to the nation’s security … and there has been no instance in which NSA could say with confidence that the outcome would have been different without the section 215 telephony meta-data program.”

With that conclusion coming from Obama’s own team in a very public report, Gerstein wonders just how much political capital Obama will spend attempting to keep those programs in place.  One has to wonder just how much more political capital Obama plans to spend on keeping Clapper in place, now that his testimony on this topic has been exposed again as misleading.

Update: Fixed subject-verb disagreement in the subhead (“Do,” not “Does”).


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…oh oh!

KOOLAID2 on December 19, 2013 at 8:05 AM

“If they are going to come to us and lie,” Paul says, “it really damages their credibility”

…they always lie…what does Rand mean….by “If”?

KOOLAID2 on December 19, 2013 at 8:08 AM

And saxby chambliss defended clapper this am indicating that Paul knew he couldn’t say anything in public…..

Lsm defending clapper and bashing Paul
No vindication according to them

cmsinaz on December 19, 2013 at 8:09 AM

Give ‘em Hell, Rand!!!

JohnGalt23 on December 19, 2013 at 8:16 AM

cmsinaz on December 19, 2013 at 8:09 AM

…morning you liberal news…masochist!

KOOLAID2 on December 19, 2013 at 8:18 AM

“The section 215 telephony meta-data program has made only a modest contribution to the nation’s security … and there has been no instance in which NSA could say with confidence that the outcome would have been different without the section 215 telephony meta-data program.”

IOW… modest = nothing

But they have been able to blackmail judges and politicians, so it’s not been a complete loss./

mankai on December 19, 2013 at 8:19 AM

Clapper lied. It’s a known fact. He should be in jail for perjury to Congress. Case closed.

Happy Nomad on December 19, 2013 at 8:41 AM

So you don’t have to KA2. :)

cmsinaz on December 19, 2013 at 8:42 AM

Anyone who has ever watched Clapper testify knows that the man is an incompetent fool.

…Which means, of course, that he has all the qualifications required to serve in BO’s administration.

climbnjump on December 19, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Clapper lied. It’s a known fact. He should be in jail for perjury to Congress. Case closed.

Happy Nomad on December 19, 2013 at 8:41 AM

Another bad day for the game “In Jail, Not In Jail.”

Fallon on December 19, 2013 at 8:52 AM

Rand Paul is correct. Clapper’s crimes are much more serious than Snowden’s.

bw222 on December 19, 2013 at 9:05 AM

I agree with Paul

jake49 on December 19, 2013 at 9:09 AM

Rand Paul is correct. Clapper’s crimes are much more serious than Snowden’s.

bw222 on December 19, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Why isn’t he in jail?

dogsoldier on December 19, 2013 at 9:13 AM

Why isn’t he in jail?

dogsoldier on December 19, 2013 at 9:13 AM

James Clapper (D)

mankai on December 19, 2013 at 9:15 AM

The Obama administration is built on lie after lie after lie all held together by the glue of an Obama-friendly media.

albill on December 19, 2013 at 9:16 AM

But the big changes the committee is calling for may be less vexing for Obama than one painful, half-buried conclusion: Vacuuming up all that data the National Security Agency collects in its call-tracking database, the panel says, hasn’t actually done much to protect the country from terrorism.

.
So, that means that the process is not designed to protect the country from terrorism but is designed to make life hell for political opponents, J. Edgar Hoover style. Øbama should be willing to expend lots of political capital (all that a really good liar has, anyway) on protecting that process.

ExpressoBold on December 19, 2013 at 9:31 AM

In a footnote a few pages later, the panel members are even more blunt: “The section 215 telephony meta-data program has made only a modest contribution to the nation’s security … and there has been no instance in which NSA could say with confidence that the outcome would have been different without the section 215 telephony meta-data program.”

If there has been no instance, then how did the program make even a modest contribution? Explain how it made a modest contribution and please don’t say that that modest contribution was proving this program is not necessary.

Dusty on December 19, 2013 at 9:59 AM

Does the NSA surveillance programs actually work?

Grammar alert!

Midas on December 19, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Clapper lied. It’s a known fact. He should be in jail for perjury to Congress. Case closed.

Happy Nomad on December 19, 2013 at 8:41 AM

Above the law.

David Blue on December 19, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Neither Paul nor anyone else should be cozying up to Snowden or dismissing the severity of his actions.

Up to the point that he was leaking info about the government’s illegal and unconstitutional domestic spying he was a legitimate whistleblower. Had he stopped right there he would have been some kind of American hero.

But once he crossed the line of leaking about our foreign intelligence gathering operations and methods he crossed the red line from hero to traitor. He should be tried, in absentia if necessary, convicted, and brought to justice.

Texas Zombie on December 19, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Rand Paul is correct. Clapper’s crimes are much more serious than Snowden’s.

bw222 on December 19, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Can’t remember Clapper walking off with more than 1 million documents that he had to illegally obtain himself to prove…the NSA illegally obtained them?

BUT Clapper is the criminal?

Unless proven otherwise, not all those documents can possible be about Domestic “Spying” practices…otherwise why would the Russkies OR the Chinese give a whiff about them? You think they needed pointers on how to do it?

Snowden was a freelance espionage agent. He used methods and tactics to penetrate and remove vast amounts of data that do have serious National Security implications for the United States, but it’s like that doesn’t even count anymore.

What scares me even more is this nutbar should have been Black-Bagged and his ass being delivered home in a C-130 months ago…and yet he made it as far as he did?

Either this is THE biggest “False Flag” misinformation dump in the history of espionage, or we have fallen so far out of Operational capabilities that it should scare the living hell out of people…and I know it does out of me.

BlaxPac on December 19, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Snowden for President! I don’t trust anybody in Washington DC, I want a selfless outsider who risked everything for freedom and liberty to be the next president.

FloatingRock on December 19, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Texas Zombie on December 19, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Tyranny is the enemy, not champions of freedom.

FloatingRock on December 19, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Snowden for President! I don’t trust anybody in Washington DC, I want a selfless outsider who risked everything for freedom and liberty to be the next president.

FloatingRock on December 19, 2013 at 2:20 PM

“selfless”? Do you know him personally? Would you chracterize Julian Assange as selfless, too? lol

You are easily conned…

Anti-Control on December 19, 2013 at 3:11 PM

It’s disturbing how few people in Rand’s party and on Fox agree with him.

HellCat on December 20, 2013 at 12:45 AM

Rand Paul just proved that he is stupid. Snowden gave our most secret signals intelligence to the Chinese and the Russians. He was probably recruited by the Chinese or Wikileaks or both to do so. The damage he has caused is incalculable. Think about the scope of his treason. He infiltrated the NSA, stole millions of the most closely guarded secrets of U.S. intelligence, including sources, methods, and technology, revealed the low-hanging fruit that al-Qaeda needs to know to the press, probably sold the rest to the Chinese for something untraceable like Bitcoin or diamond, sought asylum in Russia for probably a similar deal, and now he is seeking the good life in Brazil. Put me within 10 yards of this weasel with my 9 and I’ll put 17 in him without pause. This traitor needs to hang.

fleiter on December 20, 2013 at 6:09 AM