Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made headlines again this week when he intimated that certain unnamed journalists were accomplices in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Clapper made his comments yesterday during testimony before the US Senate Intelligence Committee where he also reiterated his position that Snowden's leaks of classified documents is doing "profound damage" to the US security – even as he dodged questions about lying to the committee in a prior appearance about the existence of a program that collected data on American citizens. At the time Clapper said that no program existed. It turned out that several programs existed and had been active for years.
During his most recent appearance, Clapper made the following comments on Snowden:
"Snowden claims that he’s won and that his mission is accomplished," said Clapper, according to a transcript of the hearing published by The Washington Post. "If that is so, I call on him and his accomplices to facilitate the return of the remaining stolen documents that have not yet been exposed, to prevent even more damage to US security… The nation is less safe and its people less secure."
The use of the word "accomplice" by Clapper rubbed journalists the wrong way. The Huffington Post asked the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to clarify who exactly Clapper was referring to. An ODNI spokesperson didn't really deny that Clapper was referring to journalists. Instead, he responded that “director Clapper was referring to anyone who is assisting Snowden to further threaten our national security through the unauthorized disclosure of stolen documents related to lawful foreign intelligence collection programs.”
You can read the entire transcript here.
On a related note, several lawmakers have sent a letter to President Obama calling for him to fire Clapper. The President will likely ignore that request, despite the harm Clapper has done to the reputation of the NSA by lying to lawmakers.
Source: Ars Technica