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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid