- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 29, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence, claimed Sunday he had no idea the FBI had set up a counterintelligence operation involving a “confidential human source” (a spy to normal humans) to covertly gather intelligence on the campaign’s suspected connections to the Russian government. 

He sure should have. 

In fact, knowing such things are precisely the job of the Director of National Intelligence.  It’s why the position was created in the first place. 

Here is the exchange with Dana Bash on CNN:

BASH: But you didn’t — as the director of national intelligence, did you know about the operation or not? 

CLAPPER: No, I wouldn’t — no, absolutely not, did not know about it, nor would it be appropriate for any DNI to know about the specifics of informants, their identities or what they are doing on the part of the FBI. I mean, that’s — lots of reasons for that, not the least of which is the confidentiality and the protection of the informants.  

In 2005, the position of DNI was created after the 9/11 Commission determined that one fo the key failings of the US Intelligence apparatus was that the various spy agencies were not sharing information. There were walls constructed between law enforcement and intel that prevented the FBI and the CIA to know compare notes and see that there may have been a large terror attack in the works. 

The solution was to create an agencies that listens, reads and talks to all the other agencies. That office would compile the president’s daily briefing and oversee what the various offices (17 in all) were working on. 

The first DNI was John Negroponte. At the time he helped create the office he said, “Our job is to effectively integrate foreign, military and domestic intelligence in defense of the homeland and of United States interests abroad.”

In short, Clapper should have known what the FBI was up to. It was literally his job. 

Furthermore, the second part of his meandering explanation to Bash is quite telling. When explaining why he wouldn’t know about the FBI’s unprecedented spying on members of the Trump campaign (allegedly to determine whether the Russians were connected with them or not) Clapper said “I mean, that’s — lots of reasons for that, not the least of which is the confidentiality and the protection of the informants.”

The ODNI under James Clapper, according to his own words, could not be trusted with knowing the identity of an informant.  Clapper’s own National Intelligence agency could not be trusted to protect the confidentiality of an informant. 

Clapper’s own words are a damning indictment of Clapper and the office he oversaw. 

Clapper should have known what the FBI was doing if the Russian threat to the 2016 election really rose to the level of national security threat he and his cohorts claim.  And if he didn’t know, then his role as DNI must be called into question, if not the role the entire office now plays in our intelligence community. 


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