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Does This Video Show The Director Of National Intelligence Lying To Congress?

Brian Jones


AP Photo

In the video below, it certainly looks like James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, lies when he tells Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), that the National Security Agency  does "not wittingly" collect any sort of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.

Clapper was testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee March 12 of this year when he was asked by Wyden:

"Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"

"No, sir," Clapper replied.

Wyden seemed surprised by this: "It does not?"

"Not wittingly," answers Clapper, pensively rubbing his forehead as he talks. "There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly."

This week, we learned that under a Top Secret court order, Verizon Wireless provides all of its call data to the NSA on a daily basis. We also learned that this has been going on for seven years. Does that count as wittingly collecting any type of data at all?

Pressed on the issue by the National Journal, Clapper said yesterday that he meant to say that "t he NSA does not voyeuristically pore through U.S. citizens' e-mails. "

It does not appear to this reporter that that was the question, nor was it his answer.

Wyden apparently doesn't think so either. Check out his Tweet, and the video of the testimony — the key exchange happens at the 6: 38 mark: 

In March, DNI Clapper specifically told me #NSA does not wittingly collect any type of data on millions of Americans youtu.be/QwiUVUJmGjs?t=…

— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) June 6, 2013


Do you think Clapper lies here? Let us know in the comments below. 

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