U.S. doesn't rule out possibility Snowden secretly talking to Russians
February 4th, 2014
04:54 PM ET

U.S. doesn't rule out possibility Snowden secretly talking to Russians

By Bill Mears

U.S. intelligence officials would not rule out the possibility on Tuesday that admitted National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has been meeting secretly with Russian authorities, who have given him asylum from U.S. prosecution.

The subject of Russia dominated a House Intelligence Committee hearing, featuring testimony from the director of national intelligence, as well as the heads of the CIA, FBI, and Defense Intelligence Agency.

DNI James Clapper told lawmakers it was "certainly a possibility" Russian intelligence services have spoken with Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor whose disclosure of sensitive surveillance methods has caused a political uproar.

"I would find it incredulous if they didn't," said Clapper, about any efforts to influence Snowden by the FSB, Russia's state security organization.
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Filed under: Edward Snowden • Intelligence • James Clapper • NSA • Russia
Documents detail congressional notice on NSA phone program
October 28th, 2013
08:35 PM ET

Documents detail congressional notice on NSA phone program

By Evan Perez

The Obama administration declassified a new batch of National Security Agency documents on Monday, many of which deal with the effort to inform members of Congress about NSA programs that collect call data on nearly every U.S. telephone user.

The documents released by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper date mostly to 2009, when the administration was pushing lawmakers to reauthorize sections of the Patriot Act that were set to expire.

One document from 2011, notifies the House and Senate intelligence and judiciary committees, of the NSA's testing in 2010-11 of a program to collect cell phone tower data that could track mobile phone users. The NSA earlier this month acknowledged it tested such collection but discontinued it.
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First on CNN: More on NSA surveillance programs to be declassified
July 29th, 2013
08:44 PM ET

First on CNN: More on NSA surveillance programs to be declassified

By Barbara Starr

The U.S. intelligence community plans to declassify additional information about surveillance programs of the National Security Agency, possibly as soon as Tuesday, CNN has learned.

A senior U.S. official tells CNN the information includes "white papers" on surveillance programs but also previously undisclosed information about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The official declined to be identified because the information has not been made public yet and because of the sensitive nature of the information. He would not offer further details in advance of the declassification process, which could extend into later this week.

It is unclear how the additional information would be released. FULL POST

James Clapper 'very concerned' by proposed limits on NSA phone surveillance
July 23rd, 2013
08:59 PM ET

James Clapper 'very concerned' by proposed limits on NSA phone surveillance

By Paul Courson and Ted Barrett

A day before the House is expected to vote on restrictions to the National Security Agency's controversial phone surveillance program, the director of national intelligence told CNN Tuesday he would be "very concerned" if the measure were to pass.

James Clapper commented briefly as he left a classified hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which also is exploring changes to the program in the wake of leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Clapper and NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander spent hours on Capitol Hill Tuesday answering questions from lawmakers about the data collection effort.

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US intel chief admits giving 'erroneous' testimony, apologizes
July 2nd, 2013
06:56 PM ET

US intel chief admits giving 'erroneous' testimony, apologizes

By Barbara Starr

James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, has apologized to a Senate committee for giving members a "clearly erroneous" answer about U.S. surveillance programs this year.

In a June 21 letter to Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein that is just coming to light now, Clapper said he wanted to "set the record straight."

The end of a March hearing touched on remarks last summer by National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander, who said a "story that we have millions or hundreds of millions of dossiers on people is completely false."

That comment was the basis for a question by Sen. Ron Wyden, who asked Clapper whether the National Security Agency (NSA) collected "any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"

Clapper answered, "No, sir."

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March 12th, 2013
04:02 PM ET

Cyberattacks, N. Korea, jihadist groups top U.S. threats

By Mariano Castillo and Chelsea Carter

Cyberattacks pose more of an eminent threat to the United States than a land-based attack by a terrorist group, while North Korea's development of a nuclear weapons program poses a "serious threat," the director of national intelligence told Congress on Tuesday.

The warning by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper came in his annual report to Congress of the threats facing the United States. It was one of the rare times since the September 11, 2001, attacks that terrorism was not the leading threat facing the nation.

"Attacks, which might involve cyber and financial weapons, can be deniable and unattributable," Clapper said prepared remarks before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. "Destruction can be invisible, latent and progressive."

The Internet is increasingly being used as a tool both by nations and terror groups to achieve their objectives, according to Clapper's report.

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Who's the spy boss?
CIA Director Nominee John Brennan and DNI James Clapper
January 14th, 2013
12:01 AM ET

Who's the spy boss?

By Pam Benson

Creating the office of the director of national intelligence in 2005 was meant to improve the management of the nation’s intelligence gathering in the wake of 9/11, but it has often led to turf wars between national intelligence directors and directors of the CIA.

Now President Barack Obama’s nomination of his trusted counterterrorism aide, John Brennan, as CIA director may leave the impression the CIA director is the top spy, even though the director of national intelligence technically would be his boss.

The problem, past directors in both posts and other experts say, is that the DNI’s role is ambiguous.

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FIRST ON CNN: Clapper to stay on as intel chief
December 17th, 2012
05:44 PM ET

FIRST ON CNN: Clapper to stay on as intel chief

By Barbara Starr

With the president expected to soon name his choices for leadership at the State Department, Pentagon and CIA, one key position will remain consistent - the director of national intelligence.

James Clapper has told colleagues he will be staying as director of national intelligence (DNI), according to a senior U.S. official with direct knowledge of Clapper's plans. The official said Clapper will stay at the head of the Office of Director of National Intelligence "for the foreseeable future."

President Barack Obama requested that Clapper stay on, amid an expected second-term overhaul of the other key national security posts. The official, who could not be identified because no official announcement has been made about Clapper, said word of the director staying at the request of the White House began to filter through the intelligence community on Monday.

Because the DNI's job does not have a fixed term of office, Clapper will not face a new confirmation hearing by the Senate Intelligence Committee. The official said the director had told colleagues and the White House he did not want to go through another hearing.

Clapper has proven to be a key bulwark for the Obama administration in the face of Republican criticism over response to the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, in particular after he acknowledged it was the intelligence community that was responsible for the substantive changes made to the talking points distributed for government officials who spoke publicly about the attack.

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Paula Broadwell
November 27th, 2012
04:17 PM ET

After Petraeus scandal, Broadwell grapples with 'normal life'

By Suzanne Kelly

In the aftermath of the affair that led to the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus, his biographer and paramour Paula Broadwell has remained publicly silent, turning instead to family and friends as she tries to assess just how news of the affair might impact her future.

"It's been hard for her family and her to see the picture that's being painted of her," says Broadwell's brother, Steve Kranz, a Washington-based attorney. "Her real focus is her family and her husband and her boys and trying to restore the trust she had with her husband and trying to protect her children from the publicity."

After weeks of media portrayals that have ranged from spurned lover to obsessed stalker, both family and friends of Broadwell have begun to present a fuller picture of her as she grapples with the shock of her affair being thrust into the public spotlight.  Part of that outreach included providing  photos from the family collection, given first to CNN, of Broadwell with her family and in Afghanistan.

"She's trying to live as normal a life as possible, but there are moments of realizing all that has happened," says a source close to Broadwell who asked not to be identified.

Early on, Broadwell began quietly returning emails from well-wishing friends, but she hasn't done much beyond that, according to sources who have said she is very focused on how the news has affected loved ones. But that strategy appears to be shifting somewhat with the hiring of a Washington-based public affairs group and friends who have known Broadwell for years now going public to combat images of her that they feel are unfair. FULL POST

Benghazi talking points omitted link to al Qaeda
November 16th, 2012
12:36 PM ET

Benghazi talking points omitted link to al Qaeda

By Jennifer Rizzo, with reporting from Pam Benson

Former CIA Director David Petraeus testified on Capitol Hill on Friday that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was an act of terrorism committed by al Qaeda-linked militants.

That's according to Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who spoke to reporters after the closed hearing, which lasted an hour and 20 minutes.

The account Petraeus gave was different from the description the Obama administration gave on September 14, King said.

Then, the attack was described as "spontaneous," the result of a protest against an anti-Muslim film that got out of control outside the compound.

Petraeus told lawmakers Friday that he had discussed the possibility of it being a terrorist attack in his initial briefing in September, according to King.

"He had told us that this was a terrorist attack and there were terrorists involved from the start," King said. "I told him, my questions, I had a very different recollection of that (earlier account)," he said. "The clear impression we (lawmakers) were given was that the overwhelming amount of evidence was that it arose out of a spontaneous demonstration and it was not a terrorist attack."

The "spontaneous" adjective was "minimized" during Petraeus' testimony Friday, King said.
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