NSA chief: I didn’t lie to Congress about spying on millions of Americans—I just forgot about it
In March of 2013, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper went to Congress and had this conversation:
Sen. Ron Wyden: “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”
James Clapper: “No, sir.”
Wyden: “It does not?”
Clapper: “Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect, but not wittingly.”
Of course, it has become immensely clear since then that Clapper’s claim was blatantly false, and the NSA does exactly what Clapper said it doesn’t.
So how does Clapper account for this discrepancy? He claims he totally forgot about that whole mass surveillance thing:
Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper wasn’t lying when he wrongly told Congress in 2013 that the government does not “wittingly” collect information about millions of Americans, according to his top lawyer.
He just forgot.
“This was not an untruth or a falsehood. This was just a mistake on his part,” Robert Litt, the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said during a panel discussion hosted by the Advisory Committee on Transparency on Friday.