Speeches & Interviews

Speeches & Interviews

Public knowledge about the activities of government is essential to a free and democratic society, and so on his first full day in office President Obama, who has noted our “profound national commitment to ensuring an open government,” called upon the entire government to comply with both the letter and the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act.  Today I would like to talk to you about the challenges of reconciling that commitment with the secrecy necessary to conduct effective intelligence operations in defense of our national interests.
When did U.S. intelligence learn about Russian plans to take over Crimea? That question was at the heart of a firestorm on Capitol Hill set off by Arizona Sen. John McCain's confrontation with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday, McCain, a Republican, said it was a "massive failure" that the U.S. intelligence agencies did not predict Russia's activities. But Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, in an exclusive interview with WTOP, disputed that characterization.
Remarks as prepared for delivery by James R. Clapper Director of National Intelligence Defense Strategies Institute (DSI) Automated ISR Symposium.
Not surprisingly, the two major issues that have been occupying my time recently have been budget issues and the fallout from the Snowden leaks. I spent the first part of October working almost entirely alone in our office, supported just by my deputy, advising on who was allowed to work and what they were allowed to do. And also responding to inquiries from people who did not seem to comprehend that when (a) Congress prohibits personnel from working when they aren’t paid, and (b) the Intelligence Community isn’t appropriated funds to pay personnel, then (c) most IC personnel won’t be able to work.
"Good afternoon this is John DeLong, director of compliance at NSA. Been a busy day, I do want to cover a few things first. I think the most important thing for everyone to understand is that no one at NSA thinks a mistake is okay. That's really got to get out there. We have an internal oversight and compliance program for the purpose of -- of multiple purposes. Preventing mistakes and then when mistakes do occur, to detect them and correct them at the earliest point possible."