Posted tagged ‘James Clapper’

James Clapper’s perjury, and why DC made men don’t get charged for lying to Congress

January 20, 2018

James Clapper’s perjury, and why DC made men don’t get charged for lying to Congress, USA Today, Jonathan Turley, January 19, 2018

The problem is not that the perjury statute is never enforced. Rather it is enforced against people without allies in government. Thus, Roger Clemens was prosecuted for untrue statements before Congress. He was not given the option of giving the “least untruthful” answer.

Later, Clapper said that his testimony was “the least untruthful” statement he could make. That would still make it a lie of course but Clapper is a made guy. While feigned shock and disgust, most Democratic leaders notably did not call for his prosecution. Soon Clapper was back testifying and former president Obama even put Clapper on a federal panel to review the very programs that he lied about in Congress. Clapper is now regularly appearing on cable shows which, for example, used Clapper’s word as proof that Trump was lying in saying that there was surveillance of Trump Tower carried out by President Barack Obama. CNN and other networks used Clapper’s assurance without ever mentioning that he previously lied about surveillance programs.


In DC, perjury is not simply tolerated, it is rewarded. In a city of made men and women, nothing says loyalty quite as much as lying under oath.

Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper is about celebrate one of the most important anniversaries of his life. March 13th will be the fifth anniversary of his commission of open perjury before the Senate Intelligence Committee. More importantly, it also happens to be when the statute of limitations runs out — closing any possibility of prosecution for Clapper. As the clock runs out on the Clapper prosecution, Democrats like Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) have charged that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen committed perjury when she insisted that she could not recall if President Donald Trump called Haiti and African countries a vulgar term. The fact is that perjury is not simply tolerated, it is rewarded, in Washington. In a city of made men and women, nothing says loyalty quite as much as lying under oath.

Even in a city with a notoriously fluid notion of truth, Clapper’s false testimony was a standout. Clapper appeared before the Senate to discuss surveillance programs in the midst of a controversy over warrantless surveillance of the American public. He was asked directly, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans?” There was no ambiguity or confusion and Clapper responded, “No, sir. … Not wittingly.” That was a lie and Clapper knew it when he said it.

Later, Clapper said that his testimony was “the least untruthful” statement he could make. That would still make it a lie of course but Clapper is a made guy. While feigned shock and disgust, most Democratic leaders notably did not call for his prosecution. Soon Clapper was back testifying and former president Obama even put Clapper on a federal panel to review the very programs that he lied about in Congress. Clapper is now regularly appearing on cable shows which, for example, used Clapper’s word as proof that Trump was lying in saying that there was surveillance of Trump Tower carried out by President Barack Obama. CNN and other networks used Clapper’s assurance without ever mentioning that he previously lied about surveillance programs.

The problem is not that the perjury statute is never enforced. Rather it is enforced against people without allies in government. Thus, Roger Clemens was prosecuted for untrue statements before Congress. He was not given the option of giving the “least untruthful” answer.

Another reason for the lack of prosecutions is that the perjury process is effectively rigged to protect officials accused of perjury or contempt before Congress. When an official like Clapper or Nielsen is accused of lying to Congress, Congress first has to refer a case to federal prosecutors and then the administration makes the decision whether to prosecute its own officials for contempt or perjury. The result has almost uniformly been “declinations” to even submit such cases to a grand jury. Thus, when both Republicans and Democrats accused CIA officials of lying to Congress about the torture program implemented under former president George W. Bush, not a single indictment was issued.

For Clapper, the attempt to justify his immunity from prosecution has tied officials into knots. After Clapper lied before Congress and there was a public outcry, Clapper gave his “least untruthful answer” justification. When many continued to demand a prosecution, National Intelligence general counsel Robert Litt insisted that Clapper misunderstood the question. Still later, Litt offered a third rationalization: that Clapper merely forgot about the massive surveillance system. That’s right. Clapper forgot one of the largest surveillance (and unconstitutional) programs in the history of this country. Litt did not explain why Clapper himself said that he knowingly chose the “least untruthful answer.” Litt added, “It was perfectly clear that he had absolutely forgotten the existence of the … program … We all make mistakes.” Of course, this “mistake” was an alleged felony offense.

Clapper will establish a standard that will be hard to overcome in the future. He lied about a massive, unconstitutional surveillance program and then admitted that he made an “untruthful” statement. That would seem to satisfy the most particular prosecutor in submitting a case to a grand jury, but this is Washington.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY’s board of contributors.

Why Does Anyone Listen to James Clapper Anymore?

August 24, 2017

Why Does Anyone Listen to James Clapper Anymore? PJ MediaRoger L Simon, August 23, 2017

James Clapper is evidently concerned Donald Trump is dangerous.  The former director of national intelligence questions the president’s “fitness for office” and believes he behaves in such an erratic manner that he might bomb North Korea and bring on Armageddon. Further, via Bridget Johnson:

Clapper slammed “this behavior and this divisiveness and the complete intellectual, moral and ethical void that the president of the United States exhibits,” and wondered “how much longer does the country have to, to borrow a phrase, endure this nightmare.”

Wow!… Well, Clapper should know something about “ethical voids.”  He also should have a good idea how long we will “endure” anything, nightmare or otherwise, because he knew what nearly every one of us said on the phone or wrote in our emails and texts at any time — or could have found out, if he had wanted to, almost instantly.

This is clear although Clapper tried to hide the truth by telling one of the most egregious lies I have ever heard from the lips of an American official, a lie meant to cover up an action by our government so evil it makes the lies of  Obama, Hillary, or Trump almost inconsequential. Virtually every U.S. citizen is now under some level of surveillance by our intelligence agencies — our privacy is dead — but James Clapper tried to deceive us all about it and make us think it isn’t so.

But don’t believe me.  Believe Wikipedia, which seems to have it right in this instance:

On March 12, 2013, during a United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing, Senator Ron Wyden quoted NSA director Keith B. Alexander’s keynote speech at the 2012 DEF CON. Alexander had stated that “Our job is foreign intelligence” and that “those who would want to weave the story that we have millions or hundreds of millions of dossiers on people, is absolutely false…. From my perspective, this is absolute nonsense.” Wyden then asked Clapper, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” He responded, “No, sir.” Wyden asked “It does not?” and Clapper said, “Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly.” [31]

When Edward Snowden was asked during his January 26, 2014, TV interview in Moscow what the decisive moment was or why he blew the whistle, he replied: “Sort of the breaking point was seeing the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress. … Seeing that really meant for me there was no going back.”[32]

Pretty stunning in the era of “unmaskings,” no?  How do you spell “creeping totalitarianism”?  I’m no fan of Edward Snowden, but it’s easy to see how a young man with his knowledge would react the way he did to the egregious prevarication by the director of national intelligence.

Reading the entire Wikipedia entry is instructional.  It’s almost a Comedy of Lies on Clapper’s part.  But here’s just a sampling:

On July 1, 2013, Clapper apologized, saying that “my response was clearly erroneous—for which I apologize.” [43] On July 2, Clapper said that he had forgotten about the Patriot Act and therefore had given an “erroneous” answer. [44]  

Clapper and NSA director Keith B. Alexander (left) were both accused of lying under oath to Congress[45] [46]

On December 19, 2013, seven GOP members of the United States Senate’s House Judiciary Committee called on Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate Clapper, stating “witnesses cannot be allowed to lie to Congress.”[47]

In January 2014, Robert S. Litt, general counsel to the Office of the DNI, stated that Clapper did not lie to Congress,[48] and in May 2015 clarified that Clapper “had absolutely forgotten the existence of” section 215 of the Patriot Act.[49]

In January 2014 six members of the House of Representatives wrote[50]to President Obama urging him to dismiss Clapper for lying to Congress,[51][52] but were rebuffed by the White House.[53]

Caitlin Hayden, a White House spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement that Obama has “full faith in Director Clapper’s leadership of the intelligence community. The Director has provided an explanation for his answers to Senator Wyden and made clear that he did not intend to mislead the Congress.”[53]

So clearly, Clapper — the DNI who “forgot” the Patriot Act — got away with lying to Congress, gracias à Obama.  And now we are supposed to believe Clapper’s alarmist characterization of Trump.

To many of us, the former DNI represents everything wrong with our government.  He is The Swamp squared — or perhaps cubed.  Although no doubt he believes at least some of his calumnies and exaggerations, I have a theory about why he’s making them and it’s simple.  Clapper wants do everything possible to deflect attention from his own dishonesty onto whomever (Trump, in this instance) in order to resurrect his own reputation.

The bigger question is why anyone is listening to him.  Perhaps they’re so accustomed to lies at this point, they’re disinterested in the truth. Or even prefer them.

Clapper: US collects and analyzes more intelligence on jihadi groups now than ever

November 19, 2016

Clapper: US collects and analyzes more intelligence on jihadi groups now than ever, Long War Journal, November 17, 2016

(Collecting lots of intelligence is good; how it is analyzed, what is looked for and what’s done with the information are at least as important. Please see also, Clueless Clapper Calls It Quits – DM)

Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper announced his retirement during a hearing held by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) earlier today. In his written testimony, Clapper offered this assessment (emphasis added):

Violent extremism, which has been on an upward trajectory since the late 1970s, has generated more IC collection and analysis against groups, members, and safe havens than at any other point in history. These include: the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant; al-Qa’ida with its nodes in Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen; al-Shabaab, al-Qa’ida’s affiliate in East Africa; and Iran, the foremost state sponsor of terrorism, which continues to exert its influence in regional crises in the Middle East through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force, its terrorist partner Lebanese Hizbollah, and proxy groups.

It is clear from his description that what Clapper describes as “violent extremism” is what we call jihadism. The Islamic State and al Qaeda are on the Sunni side of the jihadi coin, while the Shiite side is led by the Iranian regime.

What specifically stands out is Clapper’s testimony regarding al Qaeda’s “nodes.” Al Qaeda maintains a cohesive international network more than fifteen years after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

In Syria and Yemen, these “nodes” are known as Jabhat Fath al Sham (formerly Al Nusrah Front) and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), both of which are regional al Qaeda branches devoted to waging insurgencies against the local governments and their allies. Likewise, Shabaab is headquartered in Somalia and is al Qaeda’s regional arm throughout East Africa. Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) is the newest branch of the group, operating in Afghanistan, Pakistan and neighboring countries as well. To this list we can also add Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which maintains a footprint in North and West Africa. There are multiple other al Qaeda-linked groups as well.

In each case, the emir of the regional al Qaeda arm has been openly loyal to Ayman al Zawahiri. The only wrinkle is in the case of Jabhat Fath al Sham (JFS), which is led by Abu Muhammad al Julani.

In late July, Julani claimed that his group would no longer be affiliated with any “external” or “foreign” entity. His language was deliberately ambiguous, but many ran with the idea that JFS was no longer really part of the al Qaeda network. The Long War Journal offered an extensive rebuttal to that interpretation of Julani’s statement. Indeed, al Qaeda’s senior leadership never wanted to formally acknowledge the group’s presence in Syria, so Julani’s message was a return, of sorts, to al Qaeda’s original strategy for the war against Bashar al Assad’s regime. Julani did not renounce his bay’ah (oath of allegiance) to Zawahiri and Julani heaped praise on Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden even as he supposedly distanced his organization from them. Moreover, one of Zawahiri’s top deputies gave his blessing for Julani’s statement beforehand. Some break. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Analysis: Al Nusrah Front rebrands itself as Jabhat Fath Al Sham.]

Although the Islamic State generates most of the headlines these days, al Qaeda remains an international organization, albeit one that is not keen to advertise its presence in the same manner as Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s enterprise.

Al Qaeda’s senior leadership is not confined to South Asia. It is well documented that the group sent cadres to Syria, Yemen and elsewhere to lead the charge. The Obama administration’s drone campaign has repeatedly targeted veteran al Qaeda figures throughout 2015 and 2016.

The al Qaeda threat to the West and the US homeland is not confined to South Asia either. In October, the Pentagon announced that the US carried out airstrikes targeting jihadists serving al Qaeda’s “external operations” arm in Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen. Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee in February, Clapper warned that the threat emanates from multiple countries. Clapper testified that al Qaeda “nodes in Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Turkey” are “dedicating resources to planning attacks.”

There is no question that the Islamic State expanded rapidly beginning in 2013 and 2014, thereby cutting into al Qaeda’s share of the jihadi market around the globe. But as Clapper reminded Congress today, al Qaeda is far from out of the game.

The HPSCI hearing was devoted to the US intelligence community’s role supporting the Defense Department. Clapper explained that the war in Afghanistan continues to demand resources.

“In addition, we must continue to provide intelligence to assist in the transition of our mission in Afghanistan by supporting the Kabul government against persistent hurdles to political stability including eroding political cohesion, assertions of authority by local powerbroker, recurring financial shortfalls, and countrywide, sustained attacks by the Taliban,” Clapper’s written testimony reads.

That transition is not going smoothly, to put it mildly. Al Qaeda remains closely allied with the Taliban and the Haqqani Network. Siraj Haqqani is now one of the Taliban’s top deputies. Zawahiri has announced his allegiance to Taliban emir Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada. The US military and its partners are forced to hunt al Qaeda throughout much of Afghanistan, while also attempting to turn back the Taliban’s rising insurgency, which threatens several provincial capitals at once.

It is easy to see why the intelligence community is forced to collect and analyze more intelligence on jihadi groups now “than at any other point in history,” as Clapper testified. Sunni and Shiite jihadis are operating in more countries now than ever.

Clueless Clapper Calls It Quits

November 18, 2016

Clueless Clapper Calls It Quits, Front Page MagazineRobert Spencer, November 18, 2016


While he was Director of National Intelligence, Clapper made every American less safe. He epitomized the denial and willful ignorance that characterized the Obama administration’s approach to the jihad threat. In this time of swamp-draining, Clueless Clapper is leaving the stage not a moment too soon.


Barack Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, submitted his letter of resignation on Wednesday, and the next day he told the House Select Committee on Intelligence that doing so “felt pretty good….I have 64 days left and I’d have a pretty hard time with my wife going past that.” Why? Is Mrs. Clapper opposed to intelligence policies based on politically correct fantasies and willful ignorance?

Nothing epitomizes more perfectly the Obama Administration’s consistent refusal to come to grips with the reality of the global jihad than Clapper’s embarrassing tenure as Director of National Intelligence.

One incident that took place in December 2010, four months after Clapper took office, epitomized his abject incompetence. British authorities arrested twelve jihadists who had been planning to set off bombs in a variety of locations; that same day, Clapper appeared on Diane Sawyer’s ABC show, on which Sawyer said to him that she expected he must be very busy with the London arrests. Clapper looked confused, and admitted that he had no idea what she was talking about. Arrests? A terror plot?

Had Sawyer been conducting a man-on-the-street interview, and Clapper was in reality the befuddled accountant he appears to be, he might be excused for having no idea that a large-scale anti-terror operation had just been carried out in London. But this was the Director of National Intelligence, and he was far less informed and up to speed on the situation than was Sawyer herself, or probably an entire legion of befuddled accountants.

Obama’s team ran interference for Clapper, claiming essentially that Clapper had been so involved with the London arrests that he was too preoccupied to answer Sawyer’s question properly, but that his display of cluelessness was no indication of…cluelessness.

But it was. Clapper showed that again in February 2011, when he claimed at the height of the Egyptian “Arab Spring” that the Muslim Brotherhood was “largely secular,” a claim as absurd as it was inaccurate. Although the subsequent torrent of ridicule compelled the Obama camp to issue a correction, the subtext of Clapper’s statement was clear: the Obama Administration had no problem with Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt, and was not only going to do nothing to stop it, but was going actively to enable it.

The Brotherhood that Obama worked so assiduously to aid is dedicated, of course, to establishing the rule of Islamic law not only in Egypt, but everywhere that it possibly can. And if that rather commonplace fact was too much for Clapper and his boss, they could have resorted to a much simpler indicator of the religious foundation of the Brotherhood’s political program: its name. It isn’t, after all, called the Arab Nationalist Brotherhood, or the Egyptian Brotherhood, but rather the Muslim Brotherhood. Its name itself shows that it is no more secular than the Christian Brothers religious order.

Clapper also appeared woefully (if not willfully) ignorant of the Brotherhood’s pro-Sharia agenda, and no doubt completely oblivious to the implications for the United States and the world of an Egypt governed by Islamic law.

There was, of course, more. In March 2011, Clapper told Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) that Russia and China represented the greatest “mortal threat” to the United States.

Russia and China? Not North Korea and Iran, or the forces of the global jihad that grew steadily more aggressive while Clapper was Director of National Intelligence? Clapper’s statement sounded like a Rip Van Winkle who had been sleeping for twenty years or longer, and nobody had gotten around to clueing him in to the fact that the Cold War was over.

Had Clapper, a retired lieutenant general in the Air Force and longtime intelligence professional, made any study in the area of national intelligence since 1985? Was he aware that the world situation has drastically changed since 1985? Had he had any kind of thought at all since 1985?

James Clapper is perhaps the most abysmally ignorant and unqualified individual ever to have held a position of so much responsibility. While he was Director of National Intelligence, Clapper repeatedly demonstrated that he had no idea about the nature of the world today, no sense of the genuine threats that face the United States, and no clue as to what to do about those threats.

Yet instead of firing him, Obama continually made excuses for him, explaining away his idiotic remarks, and running interference for him with the international media. What Clapper did to merit such solicitude is unclear, but the stakes were far too high for the nonsense and fantasy that Clapper purveyed. While he was Director of National Intelligence, Clapper made every American less safe. He epitomized the denial and willful ignorance that characterized the Obama administration’s approach to the jihad threat. In this time of swamp-draining, Clueless Clapper is leaving the stage not a moment too soon.

Director of National Intelligence: Climate Change (Not Sharia) Leads to Jihad

September 13, 2016

Director of National Intelligence: Climate Change (Not Sharia) Leads to Jihad, Counter Jihad, Bruce Cornibe, September 13, 2016

It’s ridiculous when an elite university like MIT promotes bogus lectures such as Is Islamophobia Accelerating Global Warming? However, one can argue that it’s even worse when our top U.S. government leaders advocate for similar bogus theories such as linking climate change to terrorism.

This is what happened recently at the annual Intelligence & National Security Summit in Washington, D.C., when DNI’s James Clapper suggested a connection between environmental issues and terrorism.

The political left has been trying to establish a linkage between the two topics to provide a way to divert attention away from the actual radical Islamic ideology that is at the heart of modern day terrorism.

For example, in Paris a couple weeks after the horrific November 2015 attacks, U.S. President Obama had the audacity to insinuate a connection between climate change and terrorism. It’s bad enough that some leftists continue to push the narrative that humans are the main reason for climate change – now we have to hear our government officials promote a political agenda that basically says if we don’t go “green” we can expect terrorism to continue. Defense One reveals Clapper’s rationale behind this climate change and terrorism connection stating:

…Increased competition for “ever-diminishing food and water resources” will amplify socio-economically motivated armed conflicts, countries’ difficulties controlling their borders, and instability more generally, he said.

“I think climate change is going to be an underpinning for a lot of national security issues,” Clapper said. It affects “so many things: the availability of basics like water and food and other resources which are continually going to become matters of conflict, and already are, between and among countries.”

Defense One goes on to add:

The Pentagon has been getting increasingly serious about preparing for it, warning that warming global temperaturesand extreme weather events would act as a “threat multiplier” and foster terrorism. Earlier this year, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work ordered the military to adapt current and future operations to address climate change.

Clapper echoed this warning. Climate change-driven instability and other factors mean that “after ISIL is gone, you can expect some other terrorist entity to arise, and the cycle of extremism [to] continue for the foreseeable future.”

It seems like the line of logic is as follows: Humans (implied) -> climate change -> diminished resources -> struggle for resources -> “extremism”/terrorism

To say that climate change is causing a depletion of our resources like food and water–which then causes conflict that leads to terrorism is a massive stretch of the imagination. Of course, this didn’t stop President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry from linking climate change to the Syrian civil war.

Even left-leaning national security analyst Peter Brookes debunked this in an article last year, writing that, “there seems to be no strong quantitative (i.e., empirical) evidence to prove a cause-and-effect relationship between changes in the climate and conflict.”

It’s one thing to say that natural resources like fresh water are a security concern in arid regions like areas in the Middle East and Africa, and enter into countries’ national security policy. That much is true– and also obvious. However, to say Islamic jihad is a result from supposed conflict caused by a lack of resources is ludicrous.

Jihadists are driven by motives such as Sharia law and bringing back the Caliphate, not by frustration over the contention of scarce food and water supplies. This type of linkage is even weaker than the belief that terrorists are essentially joining the cause of jihad because of a lack of jobs/economic opportunities. ISIS could be living on the most resource-replete land and they still wouldn’t be satisfied until they bring the world under Islamic rule.

Regardless of their differences, there is a commonality between those who are hyper-ideological; a link between those who are so obsessed with their worldview that they believe it explains literally everything: In Paris last year, Obama said, “climate change — affects all trends”; the totalitarian Islamist thinks implementing Sharia law globally is the answer to solving the world’s problems.

Of course, Obama wants to see the establishment of liberal-progressive values, while the Islamist wants everything Islamic; however, both groups need each other politically at least temporarily in order to build up a powerful enough coalition to launch their respective agendas on the world stage.

Leftist politicians tend to dismiss or ignore the worldwide jihadist movement and seek to combat what they call “extremism” with vague solutions that furthers their political agenda.

Anyone with common sense realizes that hardcore jihadists like ISIS are not going to put down the sword of jihad through diplomacy and random acts of global kindness. The West needs to militarily wipe jihadists like those involved with ISIS off of the face of the earth, but also seek ways in countering their Sharia ideology that is reaching our next generation’s youth.

Bob Graham: 9/11 Support Goes To The Top Of Saudi Government

May 19, 2016

Bob Graham: 9/11 Support Goes To The Top Of Saudi Government

by Breitbart News

19 May 2016

Source: Bob Graham: 9/11 Support Goes To The Top Of Saudi Government

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

From Yahoo News:

Is there a smoking gun in the 28 pages that were redacted from the congressional joint inquiry on intelligence from before and after the 9/11 attacks that links the Saudi Arabian government to the attacks? A co-chair of that inquiry, former Forida Sen. Bob Graham thinks there is one. He also says the link goes all the way to the top of the Saudi government and that the government’s funding of terrorist groups continues to this day.

Graham, who has been advocating for the release of those pages for over a decade, sat down with Yahoo News host Stephanie Sy on “Yahoo News Live” to discuss when that might happen, the Senate’s passage of a bill allowing families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi government and what he says are the Saudi government’s continued links to terrorism.

On the 28 pages, he said: “I think [they’re] a smoking gun. I think the linkages are so multiple and strong and reinforcing that it’s hard to come away from reading all this material and not feel that there was a support network and that support network came from Saudi Arabia.”

He said it goes beyond the pages though: “They will also open the path to other materials. There are thousands of pages of documents, which speak to the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the 19 hijackers.” He continued, “Could those 19 people have carried out a plot as complex as 9/11 while maintaining anonymity in some cases for more than a year and a half while they were in the United States without having some support?”

As for the bill, which still has to be passed by the House of Representatives and signed by President Obama, he said, “It not only is going to open up the courts of justice to the families and the victims of 9/11. It also has the potential of exposing a tremendous amount of information relative to Saudi Arabia’s involvement in 9/11.” He called the bill “a very big victory.”

After meeting with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Tuesday about the 28 pages, Graham also indicated that the release of those pages could happen soon. He said, “The general has been reviewing these pages closely for a year or more. He told us that before the end of this week, he would probably have his review completed. Then it goes to a panel that’s made up of several agencies [FBI, the Department of State] who will look at the 28 pages for their issues of concern, and then it goes to the president for his determination as to whether to declassify these papers.”

He also told Sy that withholding the documents goes beyond 9/11. He said it could lead to current links between the Saudi government and terrorist groups. He said, “This has been a long time that this information has been withheld from the American people, but there’s also a recognition of the consequences of withholding. Not only the consequences that justice is being denied to the Americans who suffered grievously by 9/11 because they lost a loved one.” He continued, “I think that the Saudis who know what they did and have a pretty good idea that the United States, at least at the highest levels, knows what they did and then nothing’s happened… They’ve interpreted this as being impunity and have continued to fund terrorist organizations and to train the next generation of recruits in their mosques and madrasas.” He said those groups include al-Qaida and ISIS.

Does he consider the withholding of the 28 pages a cover-up? “I have used the term ‘aggressive deception.’”

Read the rest of Alex Bregman’s piece about Bob Graham here.

Exclusive: Whistleblowers Warned Top Spy About Skewed ISIS Intel

February 17, 2016

Exclusive: Whistleblowers Warned Top Spy About Skewed ISIS Intel It wasn’t just the generals who were warned that ISIS intelligence assessments were overly rosy. The office of the director of national intelligence knew, too.

Source: Exclusive: Whistleblowers Warned Top Spy About Skewed ISIS Intel – The Daily Beast

U.S. military analysts told the nation’s top intelligence official that their reports on ISIS were skewed and manipulated by their bosses, The Daily Beast has learned. The result: an overly optimistic account of the campaign against the terror group.

The complaints, lodged by analysts at U.S. Central Command in 2015, are separate from allegations that analysts made to the Defense Department inspector general, who is now investigating “whether there was any falsification, distortion, delay, suppression, or improper modification of intelligence information” by the senior officials that run CENTCOM’s intelligence group.

This second set of accusations, which have not been previously reported, were made to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). They show that the officials charged with overseeing all U.S. intelligence activities were aware, through their own channels, of potential problems with the integrity of information on ISIS, some of which made its way to President Obama.

The analysts have said that they believe their reports were altered for political reasons, namely to adhere to Obama administration officials’ public statements that the U.S.-led campaign against ISIS is making progress and has put a dent in the group’s financing and operations.

Administration officials have denied that the intelligence reports came under political pressure. But Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates have questioned whether the public is being given an honest account of what effect hundreds of U.S. airstrikes have had on ISIS. The allegations of skewed intelligence have come up in several congressional hearings and figured in an early Republican presidential debate.

The analysts made their claims to the ODNI in response to written surveys that were sent out by its Analytic Integrity and Standards Group last year, as part of a “periodic assessment” to take the pulse of the intelligence community, according to U.S. officials.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was asked about the defense inspector general investigation in September during a congressional oversight hearing. At the time, he gave no indication that his own office was aware through its own channels of the analysts’ accusations.

“It is an almost sacred writ… in the intelligence profession never to politicize intelligence. I don’t engage in it. I never have and I don’t condone it when it’s identified,” Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

But Clapper sought to downplay what he called “media hyperbole” about the substance of the analysts’ complaints. “I think it’s best that we all await the outcome of the DOD I.G. investigation to determine whether and to what extent there was any politicization of intelligence at CENTCOM,” Clapper said.

A spokesperson for the defense inspector general declined to comment for this story.

In the survey from the ODNI, the analysts accused their superiors of editing or rejecting reports that cast doubt on whether the U.S.-led campaign against ISIS was dealing a crippling blow, and they accused senior CENTCOM intelligence officials of attempting to delete emails and other reports that provided evidence of their manipulations, according to a source familiar with the survey who spoke on condition of anonymity.

CENTCOM said no emails were deleted.

“It is important to allow the DoD IG investigation to run its course. However, I can tell you that neither Maj. Gen. Grove nor Mr Ryckman deleted any e-mails associated with the investigation. In fact, as a matter of CENTCOM policy, all senior leader e-mails are kept in storage for record keeping purposes. CENTCOM continues to cooperate fully with the DOD IG investigation,” Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder said in a statement to the Daily Beast.

It’s not clear when the survey responses were reviewed by ODNI officials, but they were included in a report that was finished by December 2015.

The ODNI chose not to investigate the claims of impropriety on its own because the Defense Department’s inspector general had already launched an investigation, sources familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast. That investigation, which hasn’t been completed, began after more than 50 CENTCOM analysts filed complaints with the Pentagon watchdog in July 2015.

U.S. Central Command, based in Tampa, Florida, is responsible for U.S. military operations across the Middle East, from Egypt to Afghanistan. There are more than 1,000 analysts assigned to assessing intelligence and other data on the security situation of the region. They include troops and civilian intelligence analysts who work for the nation’s various intelligence agencies.

The ODNI oversees all intelligence agencies, military and civilian, and is ultimately responsible for ensuring that intelligence reports are free from political influence and bias and that they’re based on sound, verifiable sources of information.

The ODNI standards group was set up by law following the botched intelligence community analysis of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program in 2002 (PDF), which suppressed dissenting views that doubted Saddam Hussein had a viable chemical weapons program. That report, which has been effectively disavowed, was seized upon by senior Bush administration officials to make a public case for invading the country.

The standards group “conducts regular periodic assessments of finished analytic products” and reviews them “for timeliness, objectivity and independence from political considerations, and ensures that the products are based upon all sources of available intelligence and employ the standards of proper analytic tradecraft,” Timothy Barrett, a spokesperson for the ODNI, told The Daily Beast in a written statement. “Intelligence analysis from CENTCOM was reviewed by [the group] in 2015 as a part of the periodic assessment, and the information is available to Congress and the [Defense Department inspector general],” Barrett said.

It wasn’t clear whether the congressional committees that oversee intelligence activities had seen the comments from CENTCOM analysts. According to one source familiar with the document, it has been classified at the “secret” level and cannot be widely shared with lawmakers beyond the two intelligence committees.

A task force composed of staff from three House committees—on intelligence, armed services, and appropriations—is investigating the analysts’ allegations and whether they reflect any systemic problems with intelligence analysis.

It remains unclear whether the analysts’ complaints to the ODNI led to any corrective actions or halted what they saw as an inappropriate practice of selectively altering reports. Three sources who are familiar with the defense inspector general’s investigation told The Daily Beast that the watchdog had conducted interviews with analysts at CENTCOM’s headquarters in Tampa, and had reviewed documents allegedly showing that senior officials, including Maj. Gen. Steven Grove, the command’s intelligence director, and his civilian deputy, Gregory Ryckman, had deleted emails and files from computer systems before the inspector general could examine them.

“The cancer was within the senior level of the intelligence command,” one defense official told The Daily Beast. The pushback by the analysts has been described as a “revolt.”

One person who knows the contents of the written complaint they sent to the defense inspector general said it used the word “Stalinist” to describe the tone set by officials overseeing CENTCOM’s analysis.

Two officials at CENTCOM told The Daily Beast they were not aware of the ODNI’s efforts or the survey that analysts had completed. They said the biggest changes to intelligence practices came in the days after analysts filed their complaint with the inspector general. Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the commander of CENTCOM, urged analysts to speak up if they felt their assessments were being altered.

In the wake of the allegations of politicizing intelligence, some of the people who receive CENTCOM reports told The Daily Beast that they read them more skeptically.

But the reliability of CENTCOM’s analysis has only become more important since the accusations first emerged. In Afghanistan, the Taliban is resurgent and both ISIS and al Qaeda are trying to expand their footprint. In Iraq, U.S. and Iraqi forces pushed ISIS out of Ramadi, raising hopes that the two nations could launch a similar campaign in Iraq’s second-biggest city, Mosul, which serves as ISIS’s Iraqi capital.

In Yemen, ISIS is weaker but al Qaeda is stronger. And in Syria, Russian strikes are helping forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reclaim territory in the city of Aleppo. Should that city fall squarely to the regime, Syria would devolve into a war largely between the regime and ISIS, leaving the Western world with no good outcomes for the fate of that state.

Were that to happen, unvarnished analysis on ISIS and the state of the war would be more important than ever.