J. Scott Applewhite  Associated Press
Calls for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to resign should be heeded.

By R James Towe james@sollicitus.us

Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has told Fox News that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper should be "fired and prosecuted" for lying to Congress in testimony he provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee last March.

No kidding. It baffles the mind that this man has continued to oversee our intelligence agencies when Congress and the American people were lied to in such an unabashed manner.

Here is an excerpt from Mr. Clapper's testimony, when Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) asked the Director if the NSA collected data on Americans.

Sen. Wyden: "So, what I wanted to see was whether you could give me a 'yes or no' answer to the question: Does the NSA collect any type of data, at all, on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"

Mr. Clapper: "No, sir."

Sen. Wyden: "It does not?"

Mr. Clapper: "Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect, but not wittingly."

Once the Ed Snowden avalanche began, Mr. Clapper was asked to explain his comments during an interview with NBC News. He surmised that a 'yes' or 'no' answer was not appropriate; it was akin to asking when one would stop beating his wife, as explained by Mr. Clapper. Forced by Senator Wyden's unsophisticated question, a 'no' answer was the least untruthful way to answer. 

Mr. Clapper told NBC's Andrea Mitchell, "What I was thinking of is looking at the Dewey Decimal numbers; of those books in that metaphorical library. To me, collection of U.S persons' data would mean taking the book off the shelf and opening it up and reading it." 

Really? So, I guess it was truthful after all? Nothing here, let's move on.

The problem with Mr. Clapper's bungled explanation is that Senator Wyden's office provided the questions the day before his testimony. He wasn't taken aback by the question.


As has been common during the Obama years, the government's actions suffer few consequences. Mr. Clapper believed he too could say as he pleased. 

Transparency is a bad word in intelligence circles, even when asked a question by a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. 


Ed Snowden's revelations are making our government honest. It may be that those screaming the loudest and accusing Mr. Snowden of treason, may themselves be the traitors. It's time to reign in elements of the government that place themselves above the Constitution and the will of the people. Whatever his motives, Mr. Snowden has helped us begin that fight.