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Thursday, July 4, 2013

In Snowden's Wake

For John, BLUFThe President should fire the Director of National Intelligence.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Lowell Blogger Kad Barma, in an Independence Day pronouncement, telling us about "The Spirit of '76" also talks about the US Director of National Intelligence.  The DNI, retired Air Force Lieutenant General James R Clapper is in a position created in the wake of 9/11, a position designed to ensure that in the future there would be no "intelligence failures" due to lack of cross-communication.  Creating the position was a mistake, in my humble opinion.  And, it is another waste of money in an ever-growing Federal Bureaucracy.

Kad, in his post, is pretty hard over on Mr Edward Snowden, infamous NSA leaker.  I am not sure that Mr Snowden so much revealed new secrets as forced those already known "secrets" to the front of our minds.

Where I agree with Kad is that Mr Clapper lied to the US Congress, and thus to us.  As Kad notes, Mr Clapper had the question ahead of time.  He could have designed a truthful answer or headed it off.  He did neither and instead tried to work around it, ending up lying to us.  This is no small matter.

Article I of the US Constitution is the Legislature.  The Executive is Article II.  Within Article I are the implied oversight powers of the US Congress.  One shouldn't lie to Congress, especially if the lie will be outed.  If that happens there will be bureaucratic consequences.

It would seem to me that one way the President can deal with this problem with (1) Mr Snowden, (2) Mr Clapper and (3) the gross violation of our Fourth Amendment Rights by the NSA (and the US Post Office), would be to accept Mr Clapper's resignation.  (One believes it is somewhere in a filing cabinet in the White House, or maybe in one of the drawers of the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.  (Remember the movie National Treasure:  Book of Secrets?))

Kad sort of sums it up:

we suffer an administration unwilling to accept that it is a travesty of its stated goal of transparency, and a congress who seems, to a member, to be unable to stand and demand for us what is right.  our supreme court, able only to adjudicate cases that are brought to it, instead satisfies itself by insulting each other and pretending that private relationships between citizens are more important for their attention than our government's wholesale abnegation of its founding principles and documents against all obvious points to our law.
I think Kad is wrong in his blank condemnation of the US Congress, but probably generally correct.  There are brief glimpses of courage, a Denis Kucinich, a Ron Paul, and a few other mavericks.

Yes, it is time for the US Congress to stand up for our "Rights of Englishmen", no matter your ethnicity or nationality.  That is why were was a Revolution.  The British Crown was depriving us of our Rights as Englishmen.  Magna Carta and all that.

Regards  —  Cliff

  This person is supposed to coordinate CIA, DIA, NSA, and 13 other members of the Intelligence Community (IC).
  You know, like thwarting the Boston Marathon Bombing earlier in the year.


Craig H said...

Thanks for your kind words and perspectives. I should clarify that "hard over" wasn't my intent in characterizing Snowden. In fact, I was attempting not to characterize him at all, lest things devolve to a referendum on leaking. By my comments I was simply hoping to acknowledge the polarization without taking sides, and point out that his sacrifice of a private life is not an insignificant one in comparison to our ongoing enjoyment of ours while we quarterback from our armchairs.

If you were to ask, despite his clumsiness in execution, I would count Snowden as a Patriot. The implication that our government has secrets to be kept from us, We The People, of, by and for whom it is literally empowered, is anathema to our founding principles.

Seriously--the NSA and our administration is upset that THEIR privacy has been violated. That's a rich irony, and something not lost on me and others.

Neal said...

I agree with Kad 100%. The Intel community outrage is not that secrets were given the light of day, but rather that they have been exposed for keeping secrets that fly in the face of the very freedoms that their existence pretends to protect. What has quickly developed over the past 50 years is a Federal system comprised of two governments...the public one and the secret one that in fact manipulates the public one to its own secret ends. Those who surrender freedoms for security will end up with neither.

I disagree with you Cliff on the Congress. They have become so impotent and obviously self-serving that they have quite literally no practical value to the American people.

Obama has been singularly successful in accomplishing his stated goal to fundamentally change America. It has been a quiet revolution of liberal special interest groups who have ridden on the Presidential coat tails to power positions, in many if not most cases reversing or obliterating the very fabric of our society.

That there has not been a more active revolution against the quiet one is both sad and telling. To quote Carly Simon in her famous song Paved Paradise, "you don't know what you have 'til it's gone...."

Watching the faces at Pops Goes The Fourth, it seemed that an energy was diminished if not gone. It was more like just going through the motions rather than a joyous acclamation of something unique in the world.

Craig H said...

Joni Mitchell ;-)

Neal said...

Thanks Kad.....I have no idea why I have such dissonance with those two singers......old....and my circuits are starting to creak and crack....

Craig H said...

Oh, and I think the song's actual title is "Big Yellow Taxi". And it is, indeed, a great one.

C R Krieger said...

One wonders if the movie Two Weeks Notice is written around the song, which is where I know it from.

Regards  —  Cliff

PS:  More on Clapper later.  Kimberly Dozier has a piece from AP.