What the Clapper episode reveals


In a letter of apology to senator Diane Feinstein, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has admitted that he lied under oath to Congress. So what will happen to him now? Probably nothing.

The deafening silence on this is very revealing. Where are the outraged voices in calling for him to be prosecuted for perjury? After all, perjury is precisely what a mere baseball pitcher Roger Clemens was prosecuted for following his testimony to Congress about steroid use

While Republicans have been yelling for months about Susan Rice making false statements about Benghazi on TV talk shows, they are not apoplectic about Clapper’s lies. Neither are the media who instead obsess over whether Edward Snowden is a narcissist. It looks like Clapper will not even have to resign his job because president Obama seems to be supporting him, which is not surprising since he was lying on Obama’s behalf.

So to sum up: a private individual possibly lying about personal steroid use? Send for the prosecutors, grand jury, and weeks of trial! A senior government official admitting lying about a massive eavesdropping program on all Americans? A shrug.

How many more examples do we need of the blatant double standards when it comes to applying the rule of law?

Comments

  1. Chiroptera says

    How many more examples do we need of the blatant double standards when it comes to applying the rule of law?

    I know that you know this, Mano, but for lurkers just tuning in: this is an oxymoron. “Rule of law” means applying the laws faithfully, fairly, and not arbitrarily.

  2. machintelligence says

    I thought it was a rhetorical question … Wait , maybe it’s both!

  3. Chiroptera says

    And you know what the difference is between this and Watergate? In this, the targets are ordinary citizen, who need to be managed for “democracy” to work. In Watergate, the target was the party representing the other faction of the ruling elites.

  4. trucreep says

    Very good point. I’m afraid that nothing will change until some CFO finds him/herself suddenly being scrutinized

  5. ryangrannell says

    @Chiroptera that said, the technology itself is pretty much agnostic to who it targets. I’m suprised Republican’s aren’t pushing for Obama’s impeachment over this; how could they be confident that a database full of their sensitive data won’t be leveraged against them?

  6. Chiroptera says

    I wish I was original, but someone else (Gore Vidal, maybe) made that point about Watergate in comparison to one of the other scandals — I think maybe Iran-Contra.

  7. Mano Singham says

    Yes, it was very badly phrased but I’ll keep it there as an example of how not to write!

  8. Zugswang says

    It’s been well-established that enforcement of federal law is indirectly proportional to the political clout of the offender.

  9. Chiroptera says

    That is always a mystery to me, regardless of who is in charge and who is in the opposition. I still can’t believe that prominant Democrats aren’t afraid that this will be used against them when the other side comes to power.

    But, seeing how Watergate was nipped in the bud, I’m guessing the ruling elites feel that too much transparency is a bigger threat than machinery to contain the transparency.

  10. Mano Singham says

    You are absolutely right. Remember Jane Harman, who was on the House Intelligence Committee and was one of the worst people when it came to supporting government secrecy and snooping? When she discovered that she had been wiretapped, she was outraged and called it an “abuse of power“.

    These people have no shame.

  11. Chiroptera says

    Silly me. I don’t have to guess: that is exactly what they are saying (even if they are being a bit disengenuous on who is actually being threatened and who should feel trusting of the government).

  12. CaitieCat says

    I’m suprised Republican’s aren’t pushing for Obama’s impeachment over this; how could they be confident that a database full of their sensitive data won’t be leveraged against them?

    I would bet large amounts that the second clause would be their reason for not achieving the first. If they challenge the islamohomofascistsocialist dictatortyrannoFuehrer, he’ll have his Stasi put them away in FEMA camps. Because to them, that doesn’t sound like the bio of the guy with the aluminium millinery.

  13. Frank says

    No, no, no. Your priorities are all wrong. You see, baseball is The National Pastime. Any lies told to Congressional investigations into the purity of The National Pastime (which definitely merits Congressional investigation) must be pursued to the full extent of the law.

    On the other hand, government surveillance of e-mail, phone calls, and letters is incidental, as Americans perform these tasks only occasionally as needed. Texting is definitely not a national pastime, and most of us probably have nothing to hide, anyway. Nothing to see here.

    Sarcasm aside, I write this as a fan of baseball in general and of the Cleveland Indians in particular. I will say “proud fan” on the day when Cleveland finally gets rid of that execrable Chief Wahoo logo.

  14. Nathanael says

    The US of today is much like Brezhnev’s Russia.

    It’s gonna be interesting. Brezhnev’s Russia was completely and spectacularly unsustainable. Gorbachev tried to put it on a better path, but it had gone down the wrong path so long that it simply imploded.

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