Lindsey Graham: Clapper has had three strikes, must resign
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday that Libyan leader Muamar Gadhafi was positioned to defeat anti-government rebels.
“I just think from a standpoint of attrition, that over time, I mean — this is kind of a stalemate back and forth,” Clapper said, “but I think over the longer term that the regime will prevail.”
The comment prompted criticism of Clapper. South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said that the statement was “devastating” and called for Clapper to resign. “Three strikes and you’re out,” Graham said.
Graham said that Clapper’s public analysis harmed American foreign policy interests. “Some of his analysis could prove to be accurate, but it should not have been made in such a public forum,” Graham said. “If he felt the need to say what he did, then they should have moved into closed session.”
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain responded, “This is just one of those cases on a rare occasion where Sen. Graham and I are in disagreement, but I want to say I have very high regard for Gen. Clapper, and I appreciate the very difficult work he and the people under him do.”
Connecticut Independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman also expressed support for Clapper. “Gen. Clapper has given 47 years to our country, he’s a first rate intelligence officer, he’s done an excellent job,” Lieberman said. “No, I don’t think he should resign.”
Clapper’s Thursday testimony also attracted criticism for his statement that Russia and China presented the largest threats to American security. Michigan Democratic Sen. Carl Levin responded with surprise, “You didn’t mention Iran or North Korea, which would have been the first two countries I would have thought of.”
The Director of National Intelligence has been the subject of other controversies. In February, Clapper testified to the House Intelligence Committee that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was “largely secular.” In December, Clapper admitted during an interview with Dianne Sawyer that he had no knowledge of a major terror arrest that had occurred in London.