Beating up on the intelligence community in this town is a favorite pastime for politicians and media. Every week there seems to be something new in the public domain that tries to paint multiple boogeymen with little, if any, solid responses in defense of what they are doing to keep Americans safe. But if you’re agency is going to speak out, do so to win. Defense is a losing option.
In the latest FISA-related document release, ODNI Clapper says that that “[r]elease of these documents reflects the Executive Branch’s continued commitment to making information about this collection program publicly available when appropriate and consistent with the national security of the United States.” I’m not sure what any of this really means. You can read the entire statement here.
What about releasing the documents, if legally required to do so, and saying nothing. That’s right, nothing. At least not officially or on the record with statements. Never understood why certain agencies in this town even have a newsroom or a news section on the website. This is not the FDA, FBI, or Education department.
Jumping into the political bramble with Members of Congress and, in this case, an antagonistic White House, is never a good idea unless you plan to win and fight hard for your turf. Anything less and expect a lot more embarrassing stories.