Here's National Intelligence Director Clapper Apparently Lying to a Senate Committee About Surveillance

Trust us! Trust us!


In today's brief comments, President Barack Obama insisted that Congress is well aware of how the NSA was collecting phone records. It was part of the oversight we're all supposed to trust.

Below is how that trust works out. Here is Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in March asking Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, "Does the NSA collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"

For those who can't view the video, Clapper's answer is, "No, sir. … Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly." Maybe the way Clapper rubs his forehead while responding is his "tell." Anybody ever play poker with the guy?

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  1. ..pants on fire!

    1. Actually, he wasn’t lying.
      When he says “No, sir. ? Not wittingly.” he is actually referring to a specific clause in law, which explicitly forbids *intentional* surveillance.

      That is, if they’re tapping all calls from Pasadena, because they believe there’s somebody up to something bad, they can “accidentally” collect all the other calls too. That is the way the law is written.

      These aren’t “excesses”, they are *intentional* grants of power by Congress.

  2. They can get my taxes, find out who I gave money to, who I partnered with, worked with, hired, prayed with. Then they can get my bank records, then my phone calls and web history, emails. They can get my GPS phone records. What’s left? What else could the SWAT team want to know before they crash in?

    Oh yeah, gun ownership. That’s really the last big piece.

    1. Up-to-date doggy stats.

      Now that the easy one is out of the way: the irony is that the SWAT will still raid your neighbors’ house first.

  3. I assume that he will be charged with lying to Congress, or does that law only apply to little people.

    1. haha….

    2. He’ll just claim executive privilege. Along with his male privilege and white privilege and First World privilege and owns a tie privilege.

      1. The NSA promotes rape culture!

        1. Raping your privacy and the 4th amendment?

          1. The NSA is a full service agency.

          2. NutraSweet, our rape narrative is catching on!

            1. All rape narratives are Warty’s.

            2. We have to be careful, Nikki. I don’t want our rape to be just a passing fad.

              1. No. It must continue on forever, even after the two of us are but dust and ashes…

        2. They don’t promote it, they merely track it and study it for clues about terrorism.

  4. Lies, damned lies, and statistics. Which one will Obama use to weasel out of this one?

    1. “Which one will Obama use to weasel out of this one?”
      The asshole tried a strawman:
      ‘We’re not listening to your phone calls.’

  5. Protip: any presidential appointee testifying to a congressional committee is lying.

  6. “Does the NSA collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

    Smartass answer would have been: No, Senator Wyden, just a few thousand, give or take, but don’t worry, they’re either Republicans or terrorists.

  7. Jezebel’s reaction: Lame jokes.

    “You think you’re deep alright,
    but you stay in the shallow end”

    1. From the comments:

      Can you imagine how horrific it must be to find out all that stuff [when a new president is inaugurated and let into all the horrible scary secret of intelligence services]? I know they brief both candidates during the election but you know they hold back the real stuff until it matters. Amazing we haven’t had an immediate suicide. Maybe the NSA have a protocol for that.

      They really believe in top men. Men that are so brave and strong that after reading the horrors of classified reports don’t kill themselves. Doomed.

      1. They must have a lot more respect for George Bush now.

  8. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a worse liar; mid day soap actors do it better than that…

  9. I’ll say that the PRISM concept scares the fuck out of me, but Clapper testifying the way he did (yeah, this is lawyerly, even though I ain’t) he was technically telling the truth – on a razor’s edge. Example – the disclosure of the data harvesting from Verizon (and probably every other carrier also – the NSA and its predecessors have had such arrangements since the 20’s and 30’s, at one point every Western Union Telegram was made available for several years – manpower constraints limited the analysis to foreign origin encrypted messages; AT&T was in bed basically bareback with them for years also) anyway, the data harvesting from Verizon was for tech details – not content. And also, as has been pointed out – the position is partially based upon the premise that records held by third parties are not subject to protection via the 4th.

    Disclosure – once had a chance to actually meet and provide a briefing for Clapper. Didn’t like the cold fish bastard very much. But listening to his very parsed testimony – perjury is a wrap he’d beat, hands down on this one.

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