DNI Expresses Concern Over Inability To Identify And Monitor Threats

Christian Datoc Senior White House Correspondent
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In a statement on Thursday, National Intelligence Director James Clapper outlined a new U.S. Intelligence plan and discussed the major obstacles currently hampering America’s intelligence gathering capabilities, Politico reports.

Clapper listed four factors as part of a “perfect storm” hindering U.S. intelligence: “1) The theft and leak of NSA documents and the associated loss of collection capabilities; 2) the resulting damaged relationships with foreign and corporate stakeholders; 3) the conscious decision to stop collecting on specific targets; and 4) increasingly constrained budget resources.”

Clapper’s statement must come as a small shock to the White House: As recently as early September, the National Journal reported that the DNI backed the USA Freedom Act, which would enact measures severely limiting the intelligence community’s ability to collect data from citizens. But this is not the first time Clapper has flopped on the issue.

In January, Clapper testified before a House Committee Hearing that the Obama administration’s actions had not endangered national security, yet only days before he said that “changes to surveillance in the wake of the Snowden leaks were increasing the threat to the U.S.”

In the post-Snowden era, President Barack Obama stated that he would ramp down the collection of mass cell-phone information from U.S. citizens, and also prohibit U.S. intelligence agencies from eavesdropping on our allies, specifically German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

While he may have stood with the president in the past, Clapper’s latest stance shows frustration over the intelligence community’s reduced ability to properly monitor and identify security threats: “If you have ideas of how we can find the needles without having the haystacks, I’m all ears.”