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US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper Resigns, says ‘will not work with President-elect Donald Trump’

Clapper's announcement that he would be stepping down as the nation's spy-master came as little surprise to those in contact with the Trump transition team

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FILE - Director of the National Intelligence James Clapper speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA
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Nov 18, 2016: The top U.S. intelligence official will not stay on to work with President-elect Donald Trump, telling lawmakers he has already submitted his resignation.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper surprised some onlookers by making his departure official at the start of a U.S. congressional intelligence committee hearing Thursday.

“I submitted my letter of resignation last night, which felt pretty good,” Clapper told lawmakers.

“I’ve got 64 days left, and I think I’d have a hard time with my wife with anything past that,” he added.

The announcement immediately led to speculation that Clapper may have been trying to send a message to the incoming Trump administration. But a spokesperson quickly tried to downplay such concerns.

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“DNI Clapper signed his letter as required by all appointed administration officials but is finishing out his term,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added, for emphasis, that Clapper’s resignation would become effective “at noon on January 20, 2017,” the same day President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

Clapper has long hinted he would be stepping down at the end of the Obama administration.

He often would begin any remarks with a count of how many days he had left on the job. And during an intelligence forum in September, he joked, “About the only thing we’ll be rolling out the door in the next four months is me.”

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Clapper’s announcement that he would be stepping down as the nation’s spy-master came as little surprise to those in contact with the Trump transition team.

Some suggested that, after six years, the time had come for a change and it would be good to infuse the office with some new energy.

There also appears to be some hard feelings between those on the transition team who are supporters of ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the former chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency who has been advising Trump on national security.

Flynn retired from the DIA in 2014. The Washington Post reported that his departure came a year earlier than expected, and he may have been forced out after clashing with Clapper.

Trump is reportedly considering Flynn for several positions in his administration, including chief national security adviser and defense secretary.

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Clapper has served as the director of national intelligence since August 2010. He began his career at the U.S. Air Force and has served the U.S. for more than six decades.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam Schiff, told Reuters that Clapper “always exhibited sober judgment and put the fate of the nation first.”

Despite such praise, Clapper’s tenure as the top U.S. intelligence official has not been without controversy.

He was criticized for testimony he gave to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in March 2013. In response to a question, he said the U.S. had “not wittingly” collected data on millions of U.S. citizens. Several months later, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked evidence showing the U.S. had indeed collected bulk data on private citizens.

More recently, the U.S. Intelligence Community, under the direction of Clapper, took the rare step of issuing a statement blaming Russia for directing the email hacks of several Americans and U.S. organizations, including the Democratic Party.

Trump openly challenged that assertion in the weeks leading up to the election. (VOA)

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google not to offer controversial face recognition technology. Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?