MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Not that you likely missed it, but you more likely just accepted in the current status quo natural order of things that the Director of National Intelligence lied in Congressional testimony, admitted it -- and no one in Washington DC even seemed to blink.
This occurred before Edward Snowden, now a temporary-asylum resident of Russia, revealed the infamous PRISM program that the NSA uses to conduct data mining sweeping.
To refresh your memory, here's some background from a July 2nd Forbes article entitled, "National Intelligence Director Clapper Apologizes For 'Clearly Erroneous' Congressional Testimony On NSA Surveillance":
In a letter sent to the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Diane Feinstein and published on the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s website, Clapper admitted that his response in a March hearing to a question from Senator Ron Wyden on NSA data collection was “clearly erroneous.”
Wyden had asked Clapper to clarify a statement by NSA Director Keith Alexander, who had denied in a talk at the Defcon hacker conference that the NSA collected “dossiers” on every American. “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Wyden asked.
“No sir,” responded Clapper at the time. “Not wittingly.”
After the Guardian UK and the Washington Post posted articles describing the details of PRISM (including a Power Point presentation leaked be Snowden), Clapper -- our chief intelligence officer -- first tried to pull the usual DC word parsing and claimed that he had merely uttered a "less untruthful" answer than he could have. Is that like the difference between a 99% lie and a full lie?
As Forbes recounts, Wyden (D-Oregon) was irritated by Clapper's continued obfuscation. Wyden's impatience with a continued less-than-truthful acknowledgement led Clapper to finally admit that he gave a "clearly errouneous" response. In plain language, Clapper admitted that he lied.
Of course, Clapper's staff (we presume) wrote a letter explaining how the dear fellow who is head of our intel was all confused by which section of the law Wyden was talking about when it was clear as Saran Wrap that he was talking about any massive collection of data regarding Americans.
But the letter of apology was sent to Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Lady Di is not one to hold grudges against the intelligence community, so she called it a day.
A reader of BuzzFlash at Truthout recently sent the applicable secton of federal law for charging Clapper from the Cornell Law School website:
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or
(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry; shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both. If the matter relates to an offense under chapter 109A, 109B, 110, or 117, or section 1591, then the term of imprisonment imposed under this section shall be not more than 8 years.
We are a nation of laws, aren't we?
Then why does the US government only apply the law to those who make our government more transparent?
Why does Director of National Intelligence Clapper get a free ride for lying to Congress and the American people?
(Photo: Medill DC)