Tagged James Clapper

An Intelligence Failure of Alarming Proportions

How bad were we at assessing the threat posed by ISIL? This bad: By late last year, classified American intelligence reports painted an increasingly ominous picture of a growing threat from Sunni extremists in Syria, according to senior intelligence and military officials. Just as worrisome, they said, were reports of deteriorating readiness and morale among troops next door in Iraq. But the reports, they said, generated little attention in a White House consumed with multiple brush fires and reluctant to be drawn back into Iraq. “Some of us were pushing the reporting, but the White House just didn’t pay attention…

Our Astonishingly Incoherent Anti-ISIL Policy

So, notwithstanding the Obamaesque promises of 2008–and after–we are at war again in Iraq. And if that isn’t enough, we are also at war in Syria. Here is the stated reason for our intervention: The U.S. launched eight airstrikes Monday night against a little-known, al-Qaida-affiliated militant group in Syria. The United States Central Command said Tuesday morning that American forces hit the Khorasan Group near Aleppo to stop “imminent attack-planning against the United States and Western interests.” At a Pentagon press briefing shortly after, defense officials explained just how imminent such an attack may have been. “The intelligence reports indicated that the…

In Which I Side–Somewhat Belatedly–with James Clapper

Back in June of this year, in passing, I faulted Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for lying to Congress. I see now that Rep. James Sensenbrenner wants Clapper prosecuted for the lie. Let me dissent from that view, and from my previous stance on this issue. As discussed here, Clapper was trapped by a question from Senator Ron Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, regarding NSA spying on the general population, and put into an impossible position. Either Clapper could preserve the secrecy classification of the NSA’s activity by lying to Congress (the path he chose), or he…

James Clapper Throws the Obama Administration Under the Bus

Following up on this post, we have yet another indication that the intelligence community is pushing back against White House claims that it knew nothing about spying on friendly foreign governments: 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…