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Monday, November 12, 2012

James Clapper, American Hero

All the reports say that James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, advised Petraeus to resign.  To be honest, I hadn't heard of Director Clapper before this.  And I don't know exactly what Clapper's considerations were.  Maybe it was something unique to the CIA.  Still, there has been nothing in the news that confirms that any security actually was breached.  The news just shows that Paula Broadwell had inappropriate access to Petraeus's gmail account and his seventh floor Langley office.

But what Clapper clearly saw was the big picture.  A sex scandal at this level needs to be put out, and put out quickly, and put behind us.  The work of the CIA is too important for it to be led by a Director facing these kinds of allegations, in the midst of an FBI investigation.  Just get it behind us and move on.

Like everybody else, I'm curious to know whether Clapper saw something that the FBI agents handling the case didn't see, or if someone with authority in the FBI suppressed the information until after the election was comfortably in hand.

But I like to imagine that it was just the above -- a decisive man making the right call on short notice, where nobody else quite had the sense to grasp what the right call was.

Wikipedia shows that Clapper has had a distinguished military career, rising to the rank of Lieutenant General, and then serving in several important government posts. He replaced Donald Rumsfeld's right hand man Stephen Cambone in 2007 after Rumsfeld was fired and Cambone left. The article gives this insight about his character:

"President Obama made the official announcement on June 5, 2010 saying Clapper 'possesses a quality that I value in all my advisers: a willingness to tell leaders what we need to know even if it's not what we want to hear.'"

Too bad Bill Clinton didn't have a James Clapper on his staff.  He could have resigned gracefully rather than lying to the country about Monica Lewinsky.  Marc Rich would never have been pardoned, Al Gore would have been President, we would not have invaded Iraq, the Bush tax cuts (including the estate tax repeal) would not have happened, and we might still have a budget surplus today. Who knows, maybe September 11 would have been stopped.  But instead, the enablers and hangers-on surrounding Clinton enabled him to ride it out.  Good for Bill and Hillary, but a tragedy for the country.

And Bill still could have created his charitable foundation.

James Clapper for President in 2016!  (unfortunately, he'll be 74 by then)

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