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Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, last seen calling journalists "accomplices" as if award-winning reporting is a criminal act, has changed his tune somewhat. He now thinks all of this hubbub over the NSA secretly collecting our metadata could have been avoided if he'd just been more open about everything.

Clapper, who was given several chances to tell us what was going on (some of them under oath) and didn't, now tells the Daily Beast's Eli Lake

I probably shouldn't say this, but I will. Had we been transparent about this from the outset right after 9/11—which is the genesis of the 215 program—and said both to the American people and to their elected representatives, we need to cover this gap, we need to make sure this never happens to us again, so here is what we are going to set up, here is how it's going to work, and why we have to do it, and here are the safeguards… We wouldn't have had the problem we had."

"It's a bit of an adjustment in Clapper's public stance," Lake then notes, though that's about as critical as he gets (shades of 60 Minutes' light touch access national security journalism here), mostly letting Clapper defend the 215 program (it's like fire insurance!) and himself against accusations that he lied under oath (shockingly, Clapper says he did not. He just "wasn't even thinking of" metadata collection when Sen. Ron Wyden asked him if the NSA collected any type of data on millions of Americans and Clapper said "no, sir").


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