Tuesday, June 18, 2013

On celebrity, the NSA, and the hypocrisy of DOJ perjury prosecutions

Not a Texas-specific issue, but this has been bugging me: Can anyone justify why the US Justice Department (unsuccessfully) tried to prosecute "Rocket" Roger Clemens for perjury but somehow James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, not only hasn't been indicted for blatantly lying to Congress about the NSA phone spying program, the Obama Administration and senior US senators are publicly praising him?

At the time, Grits expressed dismay bordering on disgust that the DOJ would waste resources prosecuting athletes like Roger Clemens and Marion Jones over allegedly lying about steroid use while turning a blind eye to far more serious crimes. But that sordid spectacle appears even more embarrassing when compared to what's happening with Mr. Clapper. The basis of the Roger Clemens prosecution was the uncorroborated word of a shady informant and the government couldn't prove the charges in court. Clapper's perjury before Congress was both blatant and (thanks to revelations by Edward Snowden) entirely demonstrable.

The USDOJ's approach to those accused of lying to Congress smacks of shameless hypocrisy. They'll go after a celebrity for alleged perjury over trivia, then the Administration praises this mendacious NSA official for far more blatant, provable lies to Congress regarding much more serious subjects. My prediction is Mr. Clapper won't ever be prosecuted because he's in a position to reveal many more illicit activities about which the executive branch has probably also been lying.

Grits doesn't care if you're a Democrat or Republican, black, white, brown or green. This sort of calculated sophistry has denuded the Obama Administration of any remaining shred of credibility when it comes to defending, or even discussing, the Bill of Rights. And DOJ's failure to consistently pursue perjury prosecutions, declining to act when an Administration official lies but going after celebrities in a high-profile fashion, speaks to a smarmy unctuousness that's incredibly disingenuous. Just sickening.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

A few years ago Congress and about half of the citizens of this country said it was acceptable for a sitting president to commit perjury and to advise a young woman to commit perjury as well. Of course, the Arkansas Bar suspended his law license. I always thought it was funny that a higher standard of conduct is expected of an Arkansas lawyer than a sitting president.

Red Leatherman said...

No prosecution for the Director of the NSA lying.
But prosecute to the full extent of the DOJ and or UCMJ for telling the truth.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things"

JohnnyD said...

I think everyone should be allowed to lie about their sex life.

And what Clinton's sex life had to do with an Arkansas land deal in the 80's I've never quite understood.

Anonymous said...

Okay, Johnny, do we need to come up with a list of things that constitute "acceptable" perjury? That's very Clintonesque morality there - perjury is okay, sometimes. That's they way this was all spun - well, it was just about sex. No, it wasn't just about sex - it was about perjury which is a crime. Furthermore, it was about the judgment of the man who was in the most powerful office in the world. Think about it, you are a sitting president being sued for sexual harassment. Yet, in the midst of that you make the stupid choice to get involved with a young intern. If you owned a company and the person you put in charge made such a stupid decision you would probably fire them, wouldn't you? Its interesting how some people find dishonesty to be acceptable as long as it suits their politics. We should not be surprised perjury is such a common thing. After all, if its okay for the president, why not for anyone else. Honesty and integrity are no longer valued in our society. Anything goes as long as it gets us where we want to go. Its truly sad.

Phillip Baker said...

Oh yeah, 11:37. the eight years and tens of millions spent on investigating the Clintons had no political basis. It was all about "honesty and integrity". You might want to peak out from your bubble now and then. Newt Gingrich was shocked, shocked, I tell you, to find sinning going on in the White House. He was also doing a young female intern at the same time! The gut hate of the Clintons put this country into gridlock for 8 years. That same gut hate for the Obamas is doing the same now. I have lost all respect for so-called conservatives, whose sacred principles seem to shift with the need. Conservatism has become anti-Americanism, willing to take the country down in its quest to return to power.

Anonymous said...

And there was no "gut-hate" for George W. Bush. Come on - Clinton was a lying scumbag who was a complete disgrace to the office. Yet, he was still a much better president than the current moron.

I don't give a pass to Gingrich or anyone else. They are all lying scum who have no business being in office. But, because voters in this country are gullible and fall for all the lies, that's what we get.

If honest and integrity mattered, this country wouldn't be in the mess its in.

Btw, the fact that those flushing out the Clinton scandals were politically motivated doesn't excuse his behavior. That's the "its only a problem if you get caught" mentality. No matter the motivation of those exposing him, Clinton's conduct was still despicable and criminal.

Anonymous said...

If anyone has taken this country down, its the current occupant of the White House. Unfortunately, he has put this country in a situation from which we will never recover. But, I think that's part of the plan. Tear it down and rebuild it in your own image.

Anonymous said...

"Newt Gingrich was shocked, shocked, I tell you, to find sinning going on in the White House. He was also doing a young female intern at the same time! The gut hate of the Clintons put this country into gridlock for 8 years. That same gut hate for the Obamas is doing the same now. I have lost all respect for so-called conservatives, whose sacred principles seem to shift with the need. Conservatism has become anti-Americanism, willing to take the country down in its quest to return to power."

1. So your logic is that because Gingrich was doing it, it was okay for Clinton - moral relativism I suppose.
2. Is it really "gut-hate" for Obama or is it concern for the extreme and irreparable harm he has and is doing to this country?
Political opposition is labeled as "gut hate" when it comes from the other side but "patriotism" when it comes from your side. Typical, short-sighted thinking. There are many, many, many, many valid reasons to oppose Obama's policy. To do so is not "anti-Americanism." From the point of view of many the socialistic / communistic / totalitarian changes those currently in power are and want to make are "anti-American."

Its not about "conservatism" v "liberalism." Its about freedom v total government control.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who defends Mr. Clinton cannot criticize prosecutors for withholding evidence or lying without being a hypocrite. If its okay to rationalize what Clinton did, misconduct on the part of prosecutors can also be rationalized.

rodsmith said...

It's real simple. The criminals who have run this country at EVERY lvl for the last 50-60 years thing they are above the law. That the law does not apply to THEM!

This will only stop when we stop letting it and annouce our decision that this govt is by law FOR the PEOPLE by the PEOPLE! by putting a large group of them against a wall and SHOOTING them!

An Attorney said...

Actually, Clinton answered a question presented in the present tense truthfully as it related to the present, not the past. The answer was considered misleading, but not false per se, because it was truthful as the question was asked, but misleading relative to the intent of the question. A good attorney deposing with an honest intention (not trying to set up a perjury trap), would have asked the question in the past perfect, rather than the present, in which case Clinton would have had to admit the affair or commit perjury. That is why the statement "It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is." actually gets to the core of the problem the questioner created.

Quite frankly, Clinton's lawyers should have required the question to be rephrased, by asking whether the questioner was asking about "now" or "ever", so as to be able to answer without the appearance of giving a misleading answer.

And the questioner in that deposition should be held accountable for asking such a question, subject to multiple interpretation and contradictory answers, in the first place.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

How did this devolve into a conversation about a blow job 15 years ago compared to mass surveillance going on right now?

Thomas Hobbes said...

I think it has something to do with oral denial of a blow job by the President in a historical context (style points only) versus the current oral delivery of a handjob by a senior administration official (difficulty points).

Anonymous said...

James Clapper represents the State. The courts have already ruled that is OK for those that represent the State to lie, cheat and fabricate evidence and will not be prosecuted for that. Those that think government is the answer to so many problems in our society should take note. The State represents those that control it. It is exploitive by it's very nature, and it always represents power. Not justice, freedom. liberty or any of the other things that are claimed.

Mark Nelson said...

He said, "No, not wittingly," which was absolutely truthful. It's depressing to see how quickly otherwise fair-minded people are willing to take at face value an allegation that thousands of uniformed service members are deliberately violating on a daily basis the constitution that they swore to protect. I would suggest that anyone that's seriously concerned with this issue scrutinize the body of evidence that's been presented in support of those allegations, and consider the fact that a set of documents that tended to refute the allegations made by Snowden were withheld for two weeks, despite the fact that the Guardian had them in its possession from the beginning. I would also suggest that everyone reflect on the borderless nature of our global information environment, and the range of security threats that the defense establishment is obliged to contend with, from both state and non-state actors. Moreover, I would remind everyone that the intelligence establishment is always vulnerable to allegations of this nature, because conclusively rebutting them would require disclosure of classified information. Finally, if you're going to impugn the integrity of the men and women who are defending the country against foreign threats, at least have the decency to do a thoroughgoing job of marshalling your arguments and evidence. I'd be very interested in hearing how my colleagues and I came to be spying on Americans on a daily basis during my time in service.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Mark Nelson, the idea that this was done "not wittingly" is absurd - they had to get a warrant to do it and re-up it every three months for every provider. That seems pretty "witting" to me - it's not like it was an accident.

Dr. Worden said...

The ethics of PRISM can be put in terms of lying, as evinced by Robert Clapper, Director of Intelligence at the NSA, before Congress. Kant’s critique of lying can shed light on whether Clapper should have lied. If he should not have, what are the implications for the republic from the compromised democratic accountability? See "The NSA Goes to Congress: Kant on Lying as Unethical" http://www.thewordenreport.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-nsa-goes-to-congress-on-ethics-of.html