Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) wants the Obama Administration’s chief intelligence official prosecuted for lying under oath when he was asked during congressional testimony if the National Security Agency (NSA) was collecting data on Americans:
Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the original author of the Patriot Act, says Director of National Intelligence James Clapper should be prosecuted for lying to Congress.
“Lying to Congress is a federal offense, and Clapper ought to be fired and prosecuted for it,” the Wisconsin Republican said in an interview with The Hill.
“The only way laws are effective is if they’re enforced,” Sensenbrenner said. “If it’s a criminal offense — and I believe Mr. Clapper has committed a criminal offense — then the Justice Department ought to do its job.”
Shawn Turner, a spokesman for Clapper, declined to comment.
Sensenbrenner also said President Obama should fire Clapper and NSA Director Keith Alexander in the wake of the revelations about the spying programs.
Clapper was asked a very direct question by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in March: “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”
“No, sir,” replied Clapper. Still, Wyden pressed him. Clapper again denied that the NSA was collecting data on Americans, saying, “Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect, but not wittingly.”
The disclosures provided by NSA leaker Edward Snowden — which show that the NSA is collect to data of Americans phone calls, Internet records, emails, and even their social media connections — prove that Clapper wittingly led to Congress. Of course, Clapper claims that he gave the “least untruthful answer” he could, because, apparently, in his world “no” means “yes.”
Sensenbrenner, who authored and introduced the controversial USA PATRIOT Act in 2001, has emerged as one of the fiercest critics of the NSA’s bulk data collection programs.
The USA FREEDOM Act, legislation introduced by Sensenbrenner, would end the bulk data collection not related to actual terrorism investigations. The legislation has received strong bipartisan support and has gained momentum in the House.