In a Congressional hearing yesterday NSA Director Keith Alexander and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper attempted to dispel confusion surrounding questions about President Obama’s ignorance of the NSA’s program to spy on foreign leaders. According to Alexander and Clapper the president was aware, at least in general terms, of the US government’s program of spying abroad.
The nation’s top spymaster said on Tuesday that the White House had long been aware in general terms of the National Security Agency’s overseas eavesdropping, stoutly defending the agency’s intelligence-gathering methods and suggesting possible divisions within the Obama administration.
The official, James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, testified before the House Intelligence Committee that the N.S.A. had kept senior officials in the National Security Council informed of surveillance it was conducting in foreign countries. He did not specifically say whether President Obama was told of these spying efforts, but he appeared to challenge assertions in recent days that the White House had been in the dark about some of the agency’s practices.
Apparently the White House was well informed. Though Clapper’s history of testifying before congress is mixed, he seemed adamant that the White House knew about the program.
Asked whether the White House knows about the N.S.A.’s intelligence-gathering, including on foreign leaders, Mr. Clapper said, “They can and do.” But, he added, “I have to say that that does not extend down to the level of detail. We’re talking about a huge enterprise here, with thousands and thousands of individual requirements.”
One of the defenses given was the Casablanca defense – which Clapper quoted during the hearing doing his best Inspector Renault. That it was dishonest for other nations to pretend they did not know about these programs. That it goes without saying that everyone spies on everyone.
So it must also go without saying that everyone then lies about it, including the White House? Clapper missed the part where the logic of his testimony leads everyone to not trust him or the institution he is defending. Here’s lying to you, kid.