News / USA

Despite Tough Patch, US Intelligence Chief Says He is Staying

FILE - Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper listens during a retirement ceremony at the National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Maryland, March 28, 2014.
FILE - Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper listens during a retirement ceremony at the National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Maryland, March 28, 2014.
Reuters
Despite enduring "a perfect storm" of troubles for U.S. spy agencies over the last 18 months, the director of national intelligence announced on Tuesday that he plans to stay on the job through the end of President Barack Obama's term.

Speaking to an industry conference in Tampa, James Clapper detailed a litany of challenges he said have hit the $45-billion-per-year U.S. intelligence-gathering effort, from U.S. budget turmoil and the Syrian war to leaks by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

"The past 18 months is one of the toughest stretches for the intelligence community I've seen in my 50-plus years in the business," Clapper said.

Clapper, a former Air Force general who oversees 17 intelligence agencies and is known for his sometimes-blunt language, predicted that spending on everything from spy satellites to human agents would continue to decline.

To critics of U.S. intelligence, he said: "You're going to have a lot less of it to complain about."

Speaking on the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, Clapper defended the work of spy and law enforcement agencies in that incident, saying after-action reviews had found "no smoking guns, no real failure to connect the dots."

A report by intelligence community inspectors general released last week found that information that may have increased scrutiny of Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev fell through the cracks in communications among U.S. intelligence agencies and between the United States and Russia.

Clapper's most vigorous complaints were aimed at Snowden, who revealed highly classified details of U.S. eavesdropping programs and other sensitive matters. Two news organizations, the Washington Post and the Guardian newspaper, were awarded Pulitzer Prizes on Monday for their reporting on the Snowden revelations.

Another senior U.S. official said here Tuesday that Snowden, who was granted asylum in Russia, is now believed to have accessed about 1.5 million classified documents, not the 1.7 million previously reported.

Speaking to a largely sympathetic audience of defense and intelligence professionals at the GEOINT conference in Tampa, Clapper rejected Snowden's reputation as a whistleblower, and said he had caused enormous damage to American security.

Because of the leaks, he said, "We're beginning to see changes in the communications behavior of adversaries, particularly and most disturbingly, terrorists - a trend that I anticipate will ontinue."

Clapper came in for his own share of criticism for telling a Senate hearing, months before the Snowden leaks began last June, that the United States was not collecting data on millions of American citizens. An NSA program to gather bulk data about Americans' phone calls was still classified at the time, and Clapper later described his statement as the "least most untruthful" answer he could give publicly.

"It's not exactly been a fun year, a fun time for me personally," Clapper said on Tuesday.

The intelligence chief said, nonetheless, that he and his principal deputy, Stephanie O'Sullivan, intend to stay until Obama's term ends in January 2017.

Clapper said he wants to oversee completion of a multibillion-dollar program intended to integrate intelligence agencies' numerous separate classified information systems - and perhaps to prevent future Snowdens.

You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid