Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Experience the full Washington Post investigation: washingtonpost.com/topsecretamerica

DNI nominee Clapper on 'Top Secret America' series

Updated 7:28 p.m.
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr. had some tart words for The Washington Post's "Top Secret America" series in an appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday on his nomination to become the next director of national intelligence.

(Read the full story here: "Clapper grilled on plans for intelligence community.")

In response to questions, Clapper took issue with elements of the series, notably its reporting that no one knows how much money the U.S. intelligence system costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist or how many agencies perform the same work.

In contrast to implications that the U.S. intelligence community is "completely out of control," Clapper said, "I believe it is under control." He said that ultimately "the common denominator is the money that is appropriated." He added, "The intelligence community can do many things, but printing more money is not one of the things we can do." This "does serve as a means of control over allegedly profligate intelligence activities," he said.

Clapper acknowledged, however, that while it is possible to count government employees doing intelligence work, "counting contractors is a little bit more difficult."

Clapper disputed criticism of redundancy in intelligence programs, saying that duplication is sometimes a conscious decision. "One man's duplication is another man's competitive analysis," he said.

But Clapper also said he agreed there were redundancy problems in the arena of counterterror-financing.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) asked Clapper if there was anything in The Post series that surprised him.

"No, ma'am," he said.

Clapper said he felt the report was overblown. "I didn't agree with some of that -- I think there was some breathless and shrillness to it that I don't subscribe to," he said.

He also said he was "very concerned about the security implications" of the second part of the series in "making it easy for adversaries to point out the locations of contractors who are working for the government." He said he "wouldn't be surprised if that engenders more security" that would subsequently raise costs for the government.

"I think she's striven for a bit of sensationalism here," Clapper said, appearing to refer to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dana Priest, adding later, "That isn't to say there aren't inefficiencies."

"I just hope you won't dismiss it out of hand," Snowe admonished gently.

Clapper assured her he would not.

Video: Sen. Feinstein calls on Clapper to prevent 'duplication'

By William Branigin and Garance Franke-Ruta  |  July 20, 2010; 5:07 PM ET
 | Tags: Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, Senate Intelligence Committee  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Congress, White House react to 'Top Secret America'
Next: DNI nominee comes in for criticism

Comments

Well, Jim Clapper is correct that the Intel Community isn't "totally out of control", but it is also highly disingenuous of him to in any way minimize the overall punchline of these articles. After 9/11 money was thrown at defense and Intel in bushel baskets, so much that much was spent unwisely, with the goal of buy it, hire them, get more eyes on the target, etc, as fast as possible. The blame also rests on Congress where no "national security" request could be refused. This mess will be almost impossible to fix as long as DoD can simply re-create anything that gets cut. Congress has to fix that and also give the DNI real budget authority then cut the overall Intel budget slowly over the next ten years so that considered choices can be made without draconian cuts. It will also require a serious overhaul of the DoD "requirements process". Everything goes now and everything is free. No one will ever want to reduce anything in such an environment.

Posted by: Pearl77 | July 20, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

I'd be more concerned with the cost of paying individuals 99 weeks of unemployment when the program is designed for 26. Oh, that's right, Obama can screw the program to buy votes the rest of us pay for. Eject this incompetent idiot!

Posted by: kadota1 | July 20, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

The Intell Community may be expensive and top-heavy but so is the rest of the government and it may be even worse at the State and Local levels. What's more interesting to discuss is why it is so expensive and top-heavy and what influence contractors have in keeping it that way.. One topic of note is how archaic and obsolete the community's contract procurement and acquisition process still is. Another is the continued struggle to modernize in areas that commercial industry has been for quite some time. We employ (for example) no less than an army of human translators when a machine can do most of the work.

Posted by: precaryus77 | July 20, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

On the BBC today:
US spy chief warns of N Korea 'direct attacks'

Now I believe this is supposed to be a clear show of the strength of American intelligence in predicting future conflict. And it comes from the Hierophant of the Oracle himself.

We will wait and see Mr Clapper.

When asked whether he thought he had the power to overrule the CIA director in matters of intelligence, Mr Clapper answered: "I do."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-10707396

Posted by: novaloka | July 20, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

In other words, General Clapper is saying that this earth shaking series is a big pile of WaPoo. That seems like a concensus. I'm glad that it was written though, because it proves beyond a doubt that Dana Priest is co-ordinating efforts with the hard left--namely with a man (Arkin) who has been an associate and political ally of her husband for three decades. Arkin pulled the same stuff in the eighties with open source material in an attempt to "out" our nuclear program. (He got help from IPS--the outfit that helped CIA traitor Philip Agee.) Anybody who thinks these jokers are trying to help enhance America's intelligence capabilities must also believe that foxes guard hen houses. Not that it matters I guess,cause this bore is going down with a snore. No new Pulitzer for you missy!

Posted by: verner1 | July 20, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Hello, summer, good place for shopping, fashion, sexy, personality, maturity, from here to begin. Are you ready? So, also waiting for? Immediate action bar!
Welcome to { http://www.pointingtrade.com/ } sure you will find what you need.
Moreover, the company has a good reputation, product quality standards,
at reasonable prices. Over the years, has been well received by overseas
friends for their support. Therefore, please rest assured purchase.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!! http://www.pointingtrade.com/ !!!!!!!!!!!!
` ╰—┘ 。 ┅★`_、
│\__╭╭╭╭╭__/│   
│           │  
│           │ 
│ ●       ● │ 
│≡    o    ≡│
│           │ 
╰——┬O◤▽◥O┬——╯
   |  o  |
   |╭---╮| ┌┬┬┬┐ 
╞╧╧╧╧══╧╧╧╧╧╧╧╧╡

Posted by: tradevipmbt | July 20, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

شكرا على هذه المعلومات!

Posted by: oblomovfriend | July 20, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

I suspect General Clapper is simply trying to cover his a*s. The problem with the article is that it is right on the mark and he knows it! The intelligence community of old was more than capable of dealing with nearly any potential threat that is assuming you can keep politics out of the "game". The problems arose because the information provided by the intellience community was often ignored or poo poo away as being nonsense by our "learned" politicians and those who are tasked with managing the system. Instead of fixing what we had we CREATE this huge lumbering giant to address the issue.
This is really max "Big Brotherism" at work spending billions of tax dollars to supposedly make us safe. What a joke!
May I suggest that solving the international terrorism problem will NOT be accomplished until we get to the root cause of the problem and REALLY address the issues at hand. No one as far as I can see has the courage/will to do that. Afterall, we wouldn't want to spend those tax dollars to do something wortwhile now would we. The education system is sorely underfunded, unemplyment is at record highs, roads are crumbling, infrastructure in general is in a mess, global warming is quickly changing the climate, we refuse to REALLY fund alternative energy etc etc but we have more than enough money floating around to create this huge behemouth to address our supposed warm fuzzy need to feel safe. I'm really impressed!

Posted by: fdimike | July 20, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

After reading the series of articles on "Top Secret America", I must admit my biggest take-away was a feeling of concern for the safety of the workers who occupy the government facilities that were highlighted and shamelessly mapped out throughout the article. I feel that the investigative reporting could have still accomplished the goal of promoting healthy dialogue and debate regarding the pros and cons of contractual government service without putting Americans lives at risk by detailing the locations of their places of work. I believe the article displayed a profound lack of moral and ethical integrity, and reduced the story into another quagmire of petty politics instead of potentially spurring a healthy discussion on government spending on intelligence and the results it achieves (successes/failures relative to cost). I do not believe we are in a better place as a country having this information published irresponsibly, and my thoughts and prayers extend to the workers and their families who were spotlighted in this article.

Posted by: bbsmth478 | July 21, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Put the clapper on the Nazi spy ring! HA! Good words Dana.

& the other guy. Whatever.

Can we talk about the Nebraska Navy now or is that in the Sequel?

Posted by: Tunga | July 21, 2010 12:55 AM | Report abuse

"That isn't to say there aren't inefficiencies." - Mr. Clapper.

3 negatives make what?

A moron in common parlance. Perhaps a politician in waiting?

Royalty is such fun isn't it? What with all the beheadings n' everything!

Posted by: Tunga | July 21, 2010 12:59 AM | Report abuse

An analysis of the false flagging of the "professionals" and of the contractor entities by foreign intelligence officers should provide a good sequel.

Posted by: DarlingtonScott | July 21, 2010 2:02 AM | Report abuse

9/11 was the greatest opportunity for corporations to loot this nation (again).

Just when cold war defense spending was starting to wind down - hurrah! more money to strip away from taxpayers for programs we don't need nor will ever use!

The terrorist won, the US government and people just haven't woken up to this fact.

Posted by: googleer | July 21, 2010 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Are the series of articles correct? For the most part.

Are there any big revelations in them? Not really.

Government officials are overreacting to the articles because that's what they're supposed to do. The Post has done what it accuses the intelligence agencies of doing--spending a lot of money towards finding out something in plain sight.

Posted by: pga6 | July 21, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that our response to 9/11 is exactly what Bin Laden predicted. Yep, look it up. It's just what he wanted.

The goal of his asymmetrical warfare is to cost us to death. Get it? They know there's no beating the US military on the ground, so they just trick us into maxing out our economy. Too bad he seems to be smarter than our leaders on this point. Fear, fear, fear, spend, spend, spend. See how it works out for us.

Posted by: blackmask | July 21, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

This article is an island of journalism in a sea of "he-said-she-said" filth that the Post is so fond of these days.

Most critics are reacting to the odd sensation of finding out truths about their government via a newspaper instead of a WH press release or Fox News.

The IC is squirming under the light of day and we *ALL* need to keep the light there. They do good work, but like any garden, if you don't tend to it, it will grow in all sorts of unexpected ways.

Posted by: Froomkin_fan | July 21, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

He's part of the problem. Dump him and send him back to pushing the agendas of his double and triple-dipping buddies.

Posted by: ssterno | July 21, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

In other words, General Clapper is saying that this earth shaking series is a big pile of WaPoo. That seems like a concensus. I'm glad that it was written though, because it proves beyond a doubt that Dana Priest is co-ordinating efforts with the hard left--namely with a man (Arkin) who has been an associate and political ally of her husband for three decades. Arkin pulled the same stuff in the eighties with open source material in an attempt to "out" our nuclear program. (He got help from IPS--the outfit that helped CIA traitor Philip Agee.) Anybody who thinks these jokers are trying to help enhance America's intelligence capabilities must also believe that foxes guard hen houses. Not that it matters I guess,cause this bore is going down with a snore. No new Pulitzer for you missy!

________________________________________________

On the contrary, wingnut, most professionals (unlike you, a raving lunatic), have found the conclusions solid and balanced. Better consider going back on Zoloft.

Posted by: ssterno | July 21, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

The map feature of the article was very irresponsible and reckless to publish.

It took 2 years to do this project and no one really thought that showing a geographic map of the work locations in the 48 might be a BAD idea?!

'Glory seeking morons.

Posted by: conc3rn3dcitizen | July 21, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Clapper said he felt the report was overblown. "I didn't agree with some of that -- I think there was some breathless and shrillness to it that I don't subscribe to," he said.

He also said he was "very concerned about the security implications" of the second part of the series in "making it easy for adversaries to point out the locations of contractors who are working for the government." He said he "wouldn't be surprised if that engenders more security" that would subsequently raise costs for the government.

"I think she's striven for a bit of sensationalism here," Clapper said, appearing to refer to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dana Priest, adding later, "That isn't to say there aren't inefficiencies."

OVERBLOWN, SHRILL, striving for SENSATIONALISM. Yeah that's about right. And also likely to make the system spend a lot more money DEFENDING those patriotic federal and private employees who have been outed by Arkin's dumb(and completely gratuitous) blue and red dot map. We're spending more money on intel after 911! WOW! No kidding. We obviously weren't spending enough before. Like Clapper said, Nothing new, and nothing surprising.

Posted by: verner1 | July 21, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Did the Post really start a blog -- apparently staffed by at least two reporters -- to cover the reaction to the series?

Here's some reaction: I though Part 2 was pretty good and raised some interesting policy questions. Part 1, though, was rubbish, full of unsupported generalizations.

Also, your graphics calling the State Department and the Defense Department "Top Secret Agencies" is a bit of stretch. Everyone knows these agencies exist. No one's trying to hide them.

Posted by: editor14 | July 21, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Lets face the FACT, as I have been writing for last few years: the never ending Afghan War and the "War on Terror.." are total shams. They are just meant to do Two essential things:
1- Distract Americans people attention to what is really killing them and so wrong with this country.
2- Enrich the War profiteers and War mongers to the tune of 100s of Billions of Dollars of American Tax payers money.

I mean IF Republicans, Republicrats and the right-wing (LYING fear-mongering) US Media gave a SQUAT about American people, THEN they would be pushing for addressing things that actually are KILLING American people by 10s of 1000, such as:
1- Lack of Universal Nationalized health care, which they have in ALL European countries, Canada, in fact all developed nations and its lack in US is killing at least 50,000 Americans per year
More on this HORRENDOUS fact here:
http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE58G6W520090918
and here:
http://www.RealNewsPost.com?n=uhc.35948
2- Unsafe Mines such as Massey Mine killing 29 Americans
3- Unsafe off shore oil platform such as BP platform killing 11 and God knows what damage to nature
4- There is hardly a week goes by that someone some place in America does not shoot and kill Dozens in cold blood, Virginia Tech massacre killing 32, Columbine shooting killing 12, University of Texas at Austin shooting killed 14, etc. etc. etc.
5- About 30,000 Americans killed each year in Violent crimes whereas Europe with a larger population has about 1000 killings from Violent crimes

More here:
http://RealNewsPost.com?n=power2people.37824

Posted by: Thinkdeeper | July 21, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Gee WAPO, thanks for showing our enemies where these locations are on your interactive map.

Posted by: JRM2 | July 21, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

With an organization this size there surely will be no secrets.

Posted by: hfaulk01 | July 21, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe the idiots that agree with this much spending and a huge top secret branch of government.

Posted by: metroman76 | July 21, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Clapper's criticisms sound like typical defensive bureaucratic spin, military or no. No data are provided, I suppose the excuse is the usual - national security. (But nobody knows how much the intelligence system costs? Are we really supposed to believe this?) And most of all we have the usual fascistic reaction in the Dick Cheney tradition: informing the public undermines national security. The public must be kept in the dark about what its government is doing. This itself seems to me to be perhaps the most important criticism of all of this.

Posted by: twm1 | July 21, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

People like kadota1 cheered Bush on as he created this mess that may never go away. Yet thinks Obama spending on the unemployed is evil.

Not the sharpest tool in the shed is he.

Posted by: metroman76 | July 21, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I sincerely hope people like Kadota finds themselves unemployed for a year without any income other than their paltry savings. We'll see what tune they're singing then.

Posted by: YadaYada1 | July 21, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company