Clap and Run — Fox and the Henhouse

August 14, 2013

James Clapper Caricature_webMid-week already, and nothing to show for it beyond two days of work.
Fog again this Wednesday morning on California’s north coast, and a bit chilly, but according to the way-recent-past, it should be warm and sunny by noon.

Apparently, President Obama has to be watched. Maybe the NSA can help keep an eye on him — after a weekend’s worth of backlash over an “independent” watchdog panel to headed by DNI James Clapper, late yesterday smoke cleared from the burning debris of “truthiness” with the White House reiterating the intelligence review members will not “…report to [Clapper].”

(Illustration found here).

Last Friday, Obama announced the formation of a group to study the bullshit created by the NSA the last few years, and supposedly clarified: “And they’ll consider how we can maintain the trust of the people, how we can make sure that there absolutely is no abuse in terms of how these surveillance technologies are used, ask how surveillance impacts our foreign policy ― particularly in an age when more and more information is becoming public.”
And then a memo on Monday directed at DNI Clapper:

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I am directing you to establish a Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies … Within 60 days of its establishment, the Review Group will brief their interim findings to me through the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and the Review Group will provide a final report and recommendations to me through the DNI no later than December 15, 2013.

The double-speak shit then hit the fan.
Republican Justin Amash, who is leading a charge to revamp US intelligence, Tweeted on Monday: “Pres Obama believes man who lied to public in congressional hearing about #NSA should lead NSA review process meant to build public trust.”
Among host of outcries — and the White House responded yesterday (via The Hill):

“Director Clapper will not be a part of the group, and is not leading or directing the group’s efforts,” Caitlin Hayden, a White House spokeswoman, told The Hill on Tuesday.
“The White House is selecting the members of the Review Group, consulting appropriately with the Intelligence Community,” she said, adding that the administration expects to announce the members of the group soon.

And from others, even this move is dumb-ass:

Privacy activists expressed fear that Clapper, a vocal defender of NSA surveillance, would prevent the group from conducting rigorous oversight.
“If this was about ‘restoring the trust’ of the American people that the government isn’t pulling a fast one over on them, President Obama sure has a funny way of trying to rebuild that trust,” Mike Masnick wrote on his blog TechDirt. “This seems a lot more like giving the concerns of the American public a giant middle finger.”
Amie Stepanovich, an attorney for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said she still doubts the group can be independent with Clapper playing a central coordinating role.
“It’s just inherently not independent, and it’s not likely to solicit any meaningful results,” she said.

Indeed.
Of course, the White House declared a non-walkback, also from White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden: “I can confirm we are not backtracking on what the president announced.”

Yes, so long as he’s not called on it — clap when you’ve had enough of this shit.

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