SSCI Unanimously Approves Nominee They Don’t Like

As expected, SSCI just approved James Clapper’s nomination to be DNI. Surprisingly, though, there were no dissenters. Not Russ Feingold, with his worries about transparency on DOD covert ops. Not Tom Coburn, who was concerned about the timing of Clapper’s nomination (and who never met an obstructive tactic he didn’t like). Not even Kit Bond, who had a laundry list of concerns, from Clapper hiding his corporate ties, helping lie us into war, and flip-flopping on making NSA and NGA civilian agencies.


A unanimous vote. For a guy everyone on the committee expressed concerns about.

Perhaps most pathetic of all is Kit Bond’s statement on his vote, admitting he knows he’s probably wrong about it.

General Clapper has served our nation honorably for 46 years and I admire him, he has assured me that he does not intend to be a hood ornament but judging from recent history my yea vote is really a triumph of hope over experience.

Congressional oversight at work.

  1. fatster says:

    Oh, yay, that hopey-dopey thing again. We’re drowning in it.

    Thanks so much for highlighting this, EW. Unbelievable ” . . . my yea vote is really a triumph of hope over experience.” And over concern for the Fourth Amendment and a few other things, too.

  2. phred says:

    Bush couldn’t get Miers on the Supreme Court, but I would be willing to bet that Obama could get her equivalent there with a unanimous vote.

    Congressional Dems are completely useless. Why they even bother to go through the motions any more is beyond me. Their hearings are useless. Their advice and consent is useless. Their oversight is useless.

    As long as they keep their campaign contributions rolling in, they think their work is done.

    They are an embarrassment. They are making a mockery of our democracy. And worse still, we let them.

  3. klynn says:

    This deserves some loud shouting from citizens.

    Otherwise, the fix to hide everything from us is in.

    We need to flood offices with letters.

    We will continue to pay for our nation to spy on ourselves with no accountability.

  4. bmaz says:

    Can’t get anywhere with standing up for the SSCI’s right to be fully informed by the executive, oh no they cannot get together for that; however, they get unanimity for this Clapper slug.

  5. PJEvans says:

    If the congressional committees aren’t going to be doing oversight, would they possibly be able to appoint competent non-congressional substitutes, like ew?

    Or is competent oversight just something else for them to avoid as if it were plague?

  6. AitchD says:

    I don’t watch TV, so I’ll have to depend on this blog for the next series of questions, after Clapper has been sworn in, especially the ones that will surely begin, “General, isn’t it true that during your confirmation testimony when you were under oath, you told this committee …”.

      • strangelyenough says:

        Hmmm… I would have thought fundraisers would have been their natural environment.

    • DWBartoo says:

      However slimely ours may be, unfortunately, they are not aquatic, as then they might lose their mouth parts …

      Thanks, for bugging them, Jeff, they certainly need it.


      • Jeff Kaye says:

        I was thinking of them, invertebrate-wise, as a special species of barnacle, attached to the rump of the body politic, and stubbornly adhering, feathery legs extended for the receipt of floating funds from contributing species, and snapping back into the shell when confronted with the dreaded Bloggerus investigati.

    • skdadl says:

      Macroinvertebrates are organisms that lack a spine and are large enough to be seen with the naked eye.

      Am I right in thinking that crayfish are langoustines, or something very similar (what some of us used to call scampi, although the Brits use that word for mere prawns or shrimps)? Iow, they’re about halfway to being lobsters except much more tasty?

      Amazing to see what else crayfish are related to, but if all the others taste like crayfish, I’ll happily chomp into a macroinvertebrate any time.

      Langoustines, I gather, have almost disappeared from our coastlines. There is such a sad loss.

      And for good measure: JOSHUA CLAUS!

      • fatster says:

        Well, here ya go–and there won’t be a pop quiz later, either.

        Where I grew up, they’re called crawfish. Very tasty critters, yes!

        What wine would you like with your crayfish, ma’am?

    • Jeff Kaye says:

      Let’s be clear (and I believe you already know this), whether or not they allow the use of the name Joshua Claus, or change the policy on records, the military commissions are a joke. These executive branch so-called judicial courts are unnecessary and their policies mercurial. Neal Katyal was correct when he once called said their policies were as changeable as the deal at a used car dealership.

      They are an abomination, and remain an attempt to establish executive branch fiat over the expansionist military policy of the United States. They are a great danger to democracy and the rule of law.

      • fatster says:

        I do already know it, Jeff, and the dangers of the “Military Commissions” cannot be overstated–as you well know. Their recoiling at the mention of Claus’ name by the press was too staged and hypocritical (so what else is new?) to ignore. Thnx.

        Two good articles on this, for those who’d like to know more, can be found here and here.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    OT, too, but Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon’s profits nearly double, which suggest that BP’s “loss” has much to do with this being a good year for PR purposes to claim one, and because of accounting rules, not a shortage of cash coming in the door, that allow it to take in year one losses that it won’t actually have to pay for for years to come. Hmmmm.

  8. michaelfishman says:

    Will his position as DNI better enable him to find the WMDs Saddam shipped to Syria? That alone should be worth every Democra…um…Macroinvertebatic vote on the panel

  9. fatster says:

    Update on Obamarahma’s proposal to expand hoovering of all electronic communications. From Leahy’s office:

    Comment Of Senator Leahy On A Proposed Change By The Administration To The Electronic Communications Privacy Act


  10. MadDog says:

    OT – Fwiw, David Ignatius’ most recent at the WaPo:

    A showdown on ‘extra-judicial killing’ at Langley

    One feather in the cap of John Bennett, the new chief of the CIA’s clandestine service, is that he pushed back hard enough to get cussed out by CIA Director Leon Panetta — who told Bennett “f*** you” in a meeting last fall that agency circles are still gossiping about…

    …The details of the squabble are somewhat murky, but according to sources it involved a sensitive issue of cooperation with Pakistani intelligence.

    Bennett was station chief in Islamabad at the time, and he was discussing with Panetta how to protect CIA officers from potential criminal liability if detainees in Pakistan who had been targeted using CIA intelligence ended up getting killed while in Pakistani custody. The shorthand for this issue was “extra-judicial killing.”

    Bennett is said to have insisted that unless his case officers had legal protection, they couldn’t continue the joint operations. He warned Panetta that the Pakistanis might not be willing to provide the legal assurances about ending extra-judicial killings that the U.S. Justice Department was requesting.

    “We may not be able to keep doing these operations,” Bennett is said to have warned sharply, stressing that it would be wrong to continue if his officers faced legal risks…

    • DWBartoo says:

      Why should our American Global Gestopo face ANY risks?

      Especially LEGAL ones?

      Seeing and being as we’re nothing less than Gawd’s Gift to the World.

      (By the way, you don’t hang out with Englishmen noonish-like, do ya?)

      Thanks, MadDog, I guess we needed that?


  11. Professor Foland says:

    I can almost get my head around laissez-faire, “optimistic” voting for some Deputy Undersecretary for Provincial Affairs in the Department of the Trivial. Life is short, the Undersecretary who has to work with him is OK with it, we’re Senators with Very Important Matters To Attend To, let’s not spend more than 3 minutes on this question.

    But for DNI? Shouldn’t the standard for a position like DNI be, “Prove to me that you’re good enough”, and if the nominee can not, the vote’s a no?

    Or, as Joel Spolsky puts it for hiring software developers (a less delicate position, one would think, than DNI):

    Never say “Maybe, I can’t tell.” If you can’t tell, that means No Hire.

    • PJEvans says:

      I feel like there ought to be Senate confirmation of everyone involved with policy making, including the WH chief of staff.

      Hey, if they want to be Important and Deciderers, they can damned well go through the same process as everyone else who gets to be at that level. (And hand Rahm a rusty garden implement and give him some suggestions for self-application thereof.)

  12. bobschacht says:

    Just got back from a trip and haven’t read through all the comments yet, but on the TRMS tonight, Chris Shayes had a section on “Taking LiberTease” in which he takes the Obama administration to task for continuing Bush civil liberties abuses:

    Obama Preserves Bush Administration Abuses

    He interviewed Jamil Jaffer of the ACLU to talk about their newly updated The Torture Report.

    He underlined many of the points made here, without giving EW credit. Well, he gave the ACLU credit.

    Bob in AZ

    • bmaz says:

      There will be a special Trash Talk this afternoon (early evening for those of you on that east coast).

      And, yes, Weiner kicked ass.

  13. fatster says:


    “Rioting erupted in Kabul Friday when scores of Afghan men set fire to two US embassy vehicles after one collided with a civilian car killing a number of occupants, officials and witnesses said.”


  14. fatster says:

    Just imagine what they could have done if they’d had the powers they have now and that Obamarahma wants increased. Looks like they even tried to get Zinn fired from his position at Boston U.

    FBI admits probing ‘radical’ historian Zinn for criticizing bureau