By Pam Benson
It would probably be an understatement to say this was one of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s worst weeks on the job.
Leaked details of two top secret surveillance programs had the intelligence community and the Obama Administration scrambling to respond to what appears to be a massive effort to collect phone records of Americans and the e-mails and other communications of foreigners by the National Security Agency.
At a dinner Friday night honoring former CIA Director Michael Hayden, the DNI acknowledged his tough few days with a quip: “So many emails to read, so little time.”
But Clapper had serious comments about what he called “the elephant in the room.”
By Chelsea J. Carter and Jessica Yellin
Following the furor over revelations the U.S. government is collecting telephone records and data mining popular online services, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper took the unusual step Saturday of declassifying some details about the programs.
In doing so, Clapper reiterated President Barack Obama's position that the programs are necessary to fight terrorism, while one of his deputies said the administration was looking into possible repercussions caused by leaks to the media about programs.
"We are doing an assessment of the damage that has been done to U.S. national security by the revelation of this information," Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters during a news briefing in Rancho Mirage, California, where President Barack Obama was meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
"...Currently, there's a review underway to understand what potential damage may be done."