U.S. spy chief James Clapper is celebrating a happy anniversary this week. It’s been five years since he lied to Congress and the American public about the National Security Agency’s spying activities. Clapper’s off the hook for perjury– and Americans are still largely in the dark about spy agency activities.
On this day five years ago, Clapper lied to the U.S. Select Committee on Intelligence when Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) asked him if the NSA was collecting information on Americans.
“No, sir. Not willingly,” Clapper said.
Three months later, whistle-blower Edward Snowden would blow the top off the NSA’s warrantless surveillance programs and reveal Clappers big lie.
Clapper would later claim that it was the “least untruthful answer” he could give at the time.
The former top spook’s big lie is a moment in history that many Americans have likely long forgotten– but in Washington, a handful of lawmakers recalled Clapper’s whopper as the Monday deadline to charge him neared.
As reported by The Washington Examiner:
Many members of Congress, mostly Republicans supportive of new limits on electronic surveillance, called for Clapper to be prosecuted as the deadline neared, saying unpunished perjury jeopardizes the ability of Congress to perform oversight.
“He admitted to lying to Congress and was unremorseful and flippant about it,” Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., told the Washington Examiner. “The integrity of our federal government is at stake because his behavior sets the standard for the entire intelligence community.”
“Political consideration should not affect the Department of Justice from pursuing this matter,” Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said ahead of the deadline. “Complete and truthful testimony is imperative for Congress to conduct effective oversight. It is clear from the evidence and Director Clapper’s own admission that he lied.”
Clapper will continue to enjoy his retirement unmolested. But Americans should still use this as a reminder that government– and especially its intelligence agencies– is far more interested in protecting its agendas than the rights of individual Americans