Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Copper Clapper Caper

President Obama has announced the appointment of retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper, a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and current undersecretary of defense for intelligence, to be the next Director of National Intelligence. Eli Lake has some interesting background on Clapper. According to Lake, in 2004 Clapper supported the view that Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq sent weapons and documents to Syria in the weeks before the 2003 U.S. invasion.

Clapper's nomination reminded me of the "The Copper Clapper Caper" skit broadcast in 1968 on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. In the skit Jack Webb hilariously reprised his "Dragnet" role as Sergeant Joe Friday and Johnny Carson played Everyman reporting the crime. (In 1968 "Dragnet" was in its second television run; the series remained in NBC's lineup until 1970.) Forty years later, the skit still inspires laughter.