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clapper liarIn August of this year, the Obama administration announced it would be conducting a review of all programs covered under the blanket of Global Signals Intelligence. The Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) responded on the Bay Area radio station KPFK regarding the announcement:

“The president had called for a thorough review of our nation’s counter-terrorism policies, but he certainly hadn’t proposed, for instance, to add an adversarial process to the secret FISA court, which he just promised.  Now that’s a huge concession that he was not making previously.”


Now the President has appointed Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to head the review committee. Clapper, who has lied before congress responded by saying in a press release:

“The Review Group will assess whether, in light of advancements in communications technologies, the United States employs its technical collection capabilities in a manner that optimally protects our national security and advances our foreign policy while appropriately accounting for other policy considerations, such as the risk of unauthorized disclosure and our need to “maintain the public trust.”

Clapper’s stated objective of accounting for “unauthorized disclosure” as opposed to governmental abuse certainly runs antithetical to his other stated goal of “maintaining the public trust.”

The Office of the President invited public comment and the BORDC provided the following regarding Clapper’s accountability:

“James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence has not been truthful with the American people. His public statements have been directly contradicted by established facts. His lack of truthfulness before Congress is part of an overarching pattern of deception by federal agencies regarding the scope domestic surveillance authorized through the Patriot Act.

obama - liar and cheatBecause James Clapper has not acted in good faith to protect the constitutional civil liberties of the Americans he was tasked to protect, he cannot be trusted to lead the oversight review board of Global Signals Intelligence tasked with informing the President of its scope and potential overreach.

Entrusting James Clapper with this responsibility will only further erode the confidence of the American people in the government’s ability to manage these programs with respect for the constitution.”

Regarding the effect of NSA abuses, the statement continued:

“It has already come to light that surveillance of American organizations dedicated to domestic policy change has been one of the NSA’s priorities. The awareness that simple political participation can land a person squarely in the crosshairs of the NSA and a massive network of intelligence organizations is enough to chill political speech and action nationwide.

The suppression of civic participation as a result of NSA programming directly contravenes the most basic principles of democracy and thwarts the constitutional objective of maintaining a free and open society.”

The BORDC’s public comments on the GSI oversight plan make the point that there can be no meaningful review of the constitutionality of the NSA’s actions as long as the review process remains in the hands of officials, like James Clapper, who are architects of the program’s abuses. The American people need to see a fair process unfold with oversight that can be trusted. By appointing the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to report to the President, the Obama administration has circumvented the possibility of a genuine review while maintaining only the illusion of concern.




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