Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., faulted Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for changing his story in a “nice apology note” sent to Congress after the recent national security leaks revealed that Clapper had given false testimony during a Senate hearing.
“Did DNI Clapper misunderstand the question or did he give the 'least untruthful' answer?” Amash wondered on Twitter yesterday. “His apology note contradicts his public statements.”
Amash was referring to a letter written by Clapper to explain why he gave a false answer to a question from Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., during a Senate hearing in March. “I have thought long and hard to re-create what went through my mind at the time,” Clapper wrote in a letter quoted by the Washington Post. “My response was clearly erroneous — for which I apologize.” The Post paraphrases Clapper as saying that he “misunderstood the question.”
Clapper’s apology was necessitated by Edward Snowden’s leaks pertaining to National Security Agency surveillance of phone records, which Clapper had denied took place.
“Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Wyden asked during the hearing.
“No, sir,” Clapper replied.
After lawmakers and media noticed the discrepancy between his testimony and the truth, Clapper defending himself during an NBC News interview, saying that he had replied in “the most truthful, or least untruthful manner.”
Quite apart from the inconsistency in Clapper’s statements, Amash also dislikes how he is handling the matter of the testimony. “You would be sent to prison, but DNI Clapper just has to write a nice apology note when he lies under oath,” Amash snarked.