Wired Editor Claps Vigorously for Clapper, Hypocritically Ignores Domestic Surveillance

May 31st, 2018 9:31 PM

Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper was the subject of a long, sickly sweet interview for the technology magazine Wired, posted on Wednesday: “How A Former US Spy Chief Became Trump’s Fiercest Critic.” Clapper is selling a memoir, Facts and Fears: Hard Truths From a Life in Intelligence.

The loving interview was penned by Garrett Graff, former editor in chief of The Washingtonian and deputy national press secretary for liberal Democratic governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean of Vermont. (MRC’s Brent Baker pegged Graff as a self-promoting liberal journalist up-and-comer back in 2009.)

Graff is fresh off buttering up Special Counsel Robert Mueller (the subject of a pervious Graff book) a few weeks ago. Isn’t it odd that the purportedly technology-loving, privacy-embracing rebels who write for Wired are so enthusiastically taking the side of the national security state and domestic surveillance?

Graff set the table for Clapper:

....he says he felt called to write the book after witnessing the first months of the behavior of the man elected during his Oman trip. He has remained a public face during the nearly 18 months since he left office, becoming increasingly outspoken as the president has both publicly attacked his former colleagues in the intelligence community and denied the increasingly damning questions surrounding his campaign’s contact with Russians during an election where Russian intelligence agencies and propaganda outlets, like the Internet Research Agency and the state TV network, RT, spread disinformation and sowed conspiracies aimed at harming Hillary Clinton and helping Trump. As Clapper writes, in explaining his decision to write a memoir, Trump’s embrace of Russia “made me fear for our nation.”

Meanwhile the behavior in office of Trump himself has increasingly disgusted a world-weary Clapper....

Graff makes two contradictory arguments, both bashing conservatives: They’re bad both when they bust the budget, and when they demand budget cuts.

In a chapter devoted to the capital’s budget dysfunction, he explains how intelligence professionals and Pentagon leaders increasingly view warily the country’s ever-growing deficits and crushing national debt -- both of which have been dramatically expanded in recent months by the Republican congress’s massive tax cuts and spending increases. He cites Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen’s characterization of our national debt as the most prominent threat to national security, and Clapper calls out the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party for “play[ing] chicken” with our country’s government, citing the mandatory spending cuts known as “sequestration” and unforced governance errors like the 2013 federal shutdown.

When Graff finally, reluctantly addresses Clapper lying to Congress in 2013 while under questioning from Sen. Ron Wyden about domestic surveillance (something Wired readers are surely concerned about), he incredibly lets Clapper off the hook:

And it doesn’t shy from recounting multiple instances in which Clapper “gets thrown under the bus” by others or from confronting his own mistakes, missteps, and verbal gaffes. He duly addresses his much-criticized and picked-over comment in a 2013 hearing where he appeared to mislead Senator Ron Wyden about whether the NSA gathered call details on American citizens. He later said that he misunderstood which program Wyden was asking about and that he couldn’t later correct the record because of the demands for secrecy.

One sees other hints why Clapper is a liberal media darling, beyond his attacks on Trump.

No part of the life story of a grizzled military veteran comes across as more human and surprising than his recounting of his journey to being an “LGBT ally.”....Despite being, as he describes himself in a phrase that he probably never expected to someday write, as a “73-year-old, white, straight, cisgender man,” the cause of LGBT intelligence and military professionals became Clapper’s own on February 2, 2010, when the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullen, told Congress “speaking for myself and myself only” that the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was morally bankrupt.”