Spy bosses are by nature the most tight-lipped of people. Those who head our intelligence agencies got there in no small part by knowing precisely what to say to whom, when. In recent decades, as the heads of Western intelligence have emerged from the shadows and are expected to make occasional public statements, their utterances are customarily vague, requiring extensive tea-leaf analysis to derive their actual meanings.
Even in retirement, spymasters remain habitually enigmatic, and none has been more so than James Clapper, who is our nation’s most experienced spy boss. He retired as the Director of National Intelligence at the beginning of 2017, after over six years in that job—a record. That capped off a career in our Intelligence Community that lasted more than a half-century and included the directorships of two of our nation’s spy agencies. Nobody knows the IC better than Clapper.
While his career had its ups and downs—you don’t work in any trade for over 50 years without missteps—the former far outweighed the latter. Clapper, a retired Air Force three-star general, is widely respected in national security circles, across partisan lines, as a guy who knows his stuff and focuses on the job. Naturally, he’s exceptionally discreet as well.
That changed yesterday, when Clapper went on CNN to drop an unimaginably large bombshell on President Donald Trump. Since the inauguration in January, Clapper has made a few critical comments regarding the president and his strange ties to Moscow, but these have been largely anodyne. Clapper began showing his hand in September, with a comment that the IC assessment of Russian interference in the 2016 election raised questions about why Trump was in the White House: it “cast doubt on the legitimacy of his victory in the election,” he stated.
Read the rest at The Observer …