Credibility Lost: Bipartisan House group demands Clapper be replaced
The great theme of Barack Obama's second term may well turn out to be the loss of his and his administration's credibility. His Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, blatantly lied to Congress, and now that is coming back to haunt him and his boss. Julian Hattam of The Hill reports:
A bipartisan group of House members is criticizing President Obama for not going far enough in his attempts to rein in the country's surveillance programs.
In a letter to the White House on Monday, six lawmakers led by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said that the Obama administration should "take immediate and effective safeguards" to reform the National Security Agency (NSA) and make sure that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is not involved in the process.
"The continued role of James Clapper as Director of National Intelligence is incompatible with the goal of restoring trust in our security programs and ensuring the highest level of transparency," they wrote.
Earlier this month, Obama gave a speech outlining reforms he would like to see for the embattled NSA. He proposed new limits on the agency's ability to collect and search data about nearly all Americans' phones calls, among other measures, but called on Clapper and Attorney General Eric Holder to come up with additional reforms.
That's not good enough. When leaders lose the trust of the people, they can no longer lead effectively. Clapper has no credibility left.
Clapper has been a subject of lawmakers' ire since early last year, when he denied that the NSA spied on millions of Americans while under oath. He has since said that he tried to give the "least untruthful" answer without revealing classified information.
"Asking Director Clapper, and other federal intelligence officials who misrepresented programs to Congress and the courts, to report to you on needed reforms and the future role of government surveillance is not a credible solution," legislators wrote on Monday.
Reps. Ted Poe (R-Texas), Paul Broun (R-Ga.), Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) also signed the letter.
Regrettably, the sole Democrat signing the letter is Alan Grayson, best remembered for his claim that the GOP's health care plan is for you to "die quickly." He is a nutter. But he is a Democrat, and that makes the letter bipartisan, and for that matter, representative of an important faction of the Democrats, the nutter wing.