And I am writing this to clear up any confusion on the matter. Why? You wonder, as clearly you can quickly discern that James A. Clapp (see below) is far better looking than the Yoda look-alike contest winner in the above Great Seal of the United STASI of America, who is the Director of the National Security Agency.
True, we are both follicly-challenged, which we both attempt to rectify with facial hair (although my beard is more sage-like). He also wears glasses (mine are cooler). He’s also a James (OK, I can’t do much about that).
But there’s that CLAPPER thing.
My old friends and teammates from high school and college will know instantly of my complaint, as some of them still address me (sometimes with affection) as “The Clapper.” It is an appellation (also for a device that rings a bell) that I wear as an honorific, distinguished by the definite article “THE.”
So other distinctions warrant mention:
THAT Clapper spies on Americans; THE Clapper does not.
Why do I want the reader to know the difference.
In 2003, THAT Clapper, as head of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, “explained” the absence of WMDs in Iraq by asserting that the weapons materials had “unquestionably” been shipped out of Iraq to Syria and other countries just before the American invasion. Sure. THAT Clapper’s own agency head at the time, David Burpee, said the agency “could not provide further evidence to support” the statement.[Nytimes.com. 2003-10-29]
ABC’s Diane Sawyer interviewed THAT Clapper on December 20, 2010, and he indicated he was completely unaware that twelve alleged would-be terrorists had been arrested in Great Britain earlier in the day. I guess he was busy trying to find Great Britain on the map. [Voices.washingtonpost.com. 2011-03-13]
In February, 2011, when mass demonstrations were bringing down Mubarak’s presidency in Egypt, THAT Clapper told a House Intelligence Committee hearing that: “The term ‘Muslim Brotherhood’…is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam . . .” SECULAR!* THAT Clapper’s business is supposed to be INTELLIGENCE! Compared to him a cherrystone clam is a genius.
In March 2011, THAT Clapper commented on the 2011 Libyan civil war saying that “over the longer term” Gaddafi “will prevail.” Even the White House couldn’t let that gaffe slide; National Security Advisor Thomas E. Donilon called the statement a “static and one-dimensional assessment.” [in other words he got it “completely wrong”]
Nevertheless, President Obama (ignoring reservations about the General** by members of the Senate Intelligence Committee) made THAT Clapper the head of NSA in 2010 saying his appointment “possesses a quality that I value in all my advisers: a willingness to tell leaders what we need to know even if it’s not what we want to hear.” Like, “Oh, Mr. President, a guy who works for Booz Allen Hamilton,*** to which we “privatized” a chunk of our espionage, just outed us that we are spying on our own citizens to the Washington Post and The Guardian.”
I’d like to email Edward Snowden about info about good dim sum places to eat in Hong Kong. But I expect that THAT Clapper will be monitoring his email and, for once, he just might get the intel right.
©2013, James A. Clapp (UrbisMedia Ltd. Pub. 6.11.2013)
*He was educated by Marists, not Jesuits.
**Check out the military service career on Wikipedia that got him to be made a “General.” How do you do that flying C-47s—Yes, C47s—in Thailand during the Vietnam War?
***At which THAT Clapper once served as an executive.