During a senate hearing on March 12, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) asked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper,
“Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper replied, “No sir … not wittingly.”
After last week’s revelations about the NSA phone and internet operation it is very apparent that was lying. This past Sunday NBC’s Andrea Mitchell interviewed Clapper and asked him why he answered Wyden the way he did. He replied:
“I thought, though in retrospect, I was asked [a] ‘when are you going to … stop beating your wife’ kind of question, which is … not answerable necessarily by a simple yes or no. So I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful, manner by saying, ‘No.’ ”
I think what he said was, I found the most truthful lie possible. Now one would think if a director of National Security was stunned with a question he didn’t feel comfortable answering in public he would answer with a “this is not the most appropriate place to answer that question,” especially when you consider that as a member of the Panel, Wyden was already briefed on the NSA programs.
But it gets worse Senator Wyden issued the following statement regarding statements made by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper about collection on Americans.
“One of the most important responsibilities a Senator has is oversight of the intelligence community. This job cannot be done responsibly if Senators aren’t getting straight answers to direct questions. When NSA Director Alexander failed to clarify previous public statements about domestic surveillance, it was necessary to put the question to the Director of National Intelligence. So that he would be prepared to answer, I sent the question to Director Clapper’s office a day in advance. After the hearing was over my staff and I gave his office a chance to amend his answer. Now public hearings are needed to address the recent disclosures and the American people have the right to expect straight answers from the intelligence leadership to the questions asked by their representatives.”
He knew in advance and couldn’t figure out an answer and was given an opportunity to fix his answer and didn’t. I wonder if that’s why Obama calls it the most transparent administration in history.