Congressmen seek investigation into Clapper's false testimony on NSA

Posted by Ali Watkins on December 19, 2013 


Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies during a hearing before the House (Select) Intelligence Committee October 29, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.


Director of National Intelligence James Clapper should face consequences for lying to Congress, say members of the House Judiciary Committee.

Seven of the panel's members, including USA Patriot Act author Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., say the veteran intelligence official lied under oath to Congress, and are calling for an investigation in to Clapper’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in March of 2013. The group sent a letter to the Justice Department today requesting the investigation.

Clapper was asked if the NSA had been collecting “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans,” to which he replied, “No, sir.”

His testimony, of course, proved to be false. Former defense contractor Edward Snowden revealed just three months later that the NSA was indeed hauling in massive databases of Americans’ telephone and internet data -- the digital tidbits, or metadata, included the sender and recipient lines of an email, telephone numbers dialed and the length of the call.

Although Clapper later retracted his testimony and apologized for the error, there was little legal blowback. But the House’s seven panel members say Clapper’s falsehoods should be punished.

“Congressional oversight depends on truthful testimony—witnesses cannot be allowed to lie to Congress,” the letter reads. “Accordingly, we request you investigate Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s ‘erroneous’ statements to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence earlier this year.

Sensenbrenner is joined on the letter by fellow Republican committee members Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Trent Franks, R-Ariz., Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, Trey Gowdy, R-SC, Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, and Ted Poe, R-Texas.

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