Impeach James Clapper

It’s very simple. The Director of National Intelligence needs to go. He lied to Congress about the NSA’s totalitarian PRISM program. That’s as serious and subversive a lie as can be told to Congress about any topic. It’s exactly the kind of official misconduct that the impeachment process was established to check and punish.

I encourage those of you who agree that Clapper should be impeached to reblog what I’ve written, either verbatim or modified as you see fit. So far, there has been a strong and encouraging grassroots response to the White House petition to pardon Edward Snowden, a fair amount of it from latent civil libertarians who have been shocked into engagement by the egregiousness of what Snowden has exposed. A campaign to impeach Clapper, whom Snowden’s leaks have exposed as a liar, would dovetail perfectly with the one to pardon Snowden. Clapper has already provoked a number of members of Congress with his lie about PRISM, so timely pressure from constituents could be what it takes either to pressure him out of office or to get him formally removed.

A couple of side notes on the official reaction to PRISM (the metadata, if you will):

1) Rudy Giuliani offered a cretinously jingoistic defense of Clapper in an interview with Greta Van Susteren last night (6/11), premised largely on Clapper’s distinguished service as a military officer, the underlying ethics being that we dasn’t criticize the troops. It’s worth noting that by that standard Edward Snowden would also be shielded from all criticism, although perhaps less fully shielded since Clapper had the patriotism not to truncate his military career by breaking both legs in a special forces training accident. It goes without saying, but shouldn’t, that one doesn’t hear this sort of defense offered on Bradley Manning’s behalf, and not just because he’s a young grunt. Nor does one hear it made in defense of Robert Bales or Nidal Hasan, except perhaps by their defense attorneys, because it would sound absolutely absurd to say such a thing about someone under court-martial for mass murder. I submit that it’s no less absurd or evil when said about a spook who has been caught lying to Congress about a totalitarian eavesdropping program.

The interview got weirder than that. When Van Susteren confronted Giuliani with a chronology of Clapper’s evasions, Giuliani suddenly changed tack and accused Clapper of being a loose cannon for not having formulaically stated that he could not answer the question or offered to answer it in closed-door session. By mayoral fiat, an esteemed officer and gentleman was turned into a blithering fool who didn’t know when to keep his mouth shut. This makes the notion of Giuliani as some sort of mobster at least look plausible.

2) This vile mashup of pop psychology, pop sociology, generational smears, class snobbery, and milquetoast despotism is bad even by David Brooks’ usual standards.

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