The Liars Are “Very Concerned” Program They Lied About Will Be Defunded

Buried at the bottom of a broader story on opposition to the Amash-Conyers amendment, CNN offers a very solicitous account of the White House statement opposing it, making no note of how absurd the entire premise is.

The White House issued a statement Tuesday evening, saying that it opposes the amendment and urges the House to reject it. “In light of the recent unauthorized disclosures, the president has said that he welcomes a debate about how best to simultaneously safeguard both our national security and the privacy of our citizens,” the statement said. “However, we oppose the current effort in the House to hastily dismantle one of our intelligence community’s counterterrorism tools. This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process.”

CNN does, however, provide James Clapper and Keith Alexander an opportunity to give their readout of the TS/SCI briefings they gave Congress.

In spite of reporting describing it as a lobbying session, these noted prevaricators claim their job wasn’t to persuade, it was just to answer questions.

“Our mission wasn’t to convince the House to do anything other than to provide information for them to make a decision,” Alexander told CNN.

Asked if they satisfied lawmakers and persuaded them not to change the program, Alexander would only say it was useful to “get the facts on the table.”

Sort of gives you the impression they failed to persuade, huh?

But if their mission was really to “provide information” and “get the facts on the table,” then what have all the unclassified briefings been about? Is this claim they were only now “providing information” yet another indication that they were, perhaps, misinforming before? Again?

That, to me, is a big part of this story: that two men who have lied repeatedly about these programs felt the need to conduct Top Secret briefings to provide information that hadn’t been provided in the past.

All of which makes me very unsympathetic to Clapper’s stated worry.

A day before the House is expected to vote on restrictions to the National Security Agency’s controversial phone surveillance program, the director of national intelligence told CNN Tuesday he would be “very concerned” if the measure were to pass.

This program is problematic for several reasons: it is overkill to achieve its stated purpose and it violates the intent of the Fourth Amendment.

But add to that the trust those overseeing the program chose to piss away by lying about this collection repeatedly in the past.

If Amash-Conyers does pass (and it’s still a long-shot unless each and every one of you manages to convince your Rep to support it), it will be in significant part because Clapper and Alexander abused the trust placed in them.

Update: HuffPo covers this straight, too, though at least it includes Demand Progress’ views.

6 replies
  1. greengiant says:

    Not to worry, secret laws, secret programs, secret letters, secret orders, secret signing understanding statements, The money will be spent, the programs will continue, the House will get no less disrespect than the rest of America.
    Something about the continuous state of emergency and how the too big to fail banks and debt servicers must be protected forever and ever.

  2. C says:

    @greengiant: Actually given that Sensenbrenner and others were clear that this went way beyond what they thought was legal, and given how much the current and previous executive branch (or rather the uncontrolled agencies that are nominally a part of them) just did it does beg the question:

    Would they respect this law even if it is passed?

    Mind you I’m not certain that they wouldn’t but then my belief in their respect for, well anything legal or constitutional has been pretty much shot at this point.

  3. john francis lee says:

    Weiner sticks to mayoral race with wife at his side despite new sex photo

    The account posted on The Dirty describes phone sex and other details from an interaction said to have lasted until December 2012, just months before Weiner declared his candidacy for mayor. The account said Weiner and the woman exchanged messages over Facebook and the social networking site Formspring, and that the user alleged to be Weiner also used the nickname “Carlos Danger”.

    Could there be a message here ? This is what happens when you don’t knuckle your brow to the NSA ? What happens if you vote against the NSA’s appropriation ?

    If the Congress can’t shut ’em down now they’ll never be able to shut ’em down. The finger writes on the wall and moves on.

  4. Jim White says:

    @klynn: Thanks. In order to preserve both my physical and mental health, I’ve chosen not to blog on the Syria situation. There is so much disinformation coming from so many sides that I just don’t think I’d be able to cope.

    If our geniuses in government choose to send our troops there in open warfare, I guess I’ll be dragged kicking and screaming into covering it, though.

  5. greengiant says:

    @C: Yes my take is that the only respect given any new laws will be the ignoring of them.

    Forgot about secret courts. Forgot about secret 4th branch of government in state of emergency. Forgot about Brenner swearing on a short form of the constitution.
    Once their monkeys are let out of their constitutional cages are they ever recaptured?
    The first response to inquiries is distractional chaff that they must leave around for people like Snowden to find. Even the letters that no one has, a few have heard of, and fewer have seen are chaff.

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