Senator Wyden Calls For Hearings Over Intelligence Officials Lying To Congress

from the about-time dept

We’ve discussed in great detail how the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, lied to Congress concerning NSA surveillance and why he should face the consequences of such lies. What hasn’t been noted as much is that NSA boss Keith Alexander more or less told the same lies to Congress a few months earlier, in a letter responding to some of Senator Wyden’s questions.

Now Wyden is pointing out that this is unacceptable and calling for hearings on the claims of the intelligence community to Congress:

“One of the most important responsibilities a Senator has is oversight of the intelligence community. This job cannot be done responsibly if Senators aren’t getting straight answers to direct questions. When NSA Director Alexander failed to clarify previous public statements about domestic surveillance, it was necessary to put the question to the Director of National Intelligence. So that he would be prepared to answer, I sent the question to Director Clapper’s office a day in advance. After the hearing was over my staff and I gave his office a chance to amend his answer. Now public hearings are needed to address the recent disclosures and the American people have the right to expect straight answers from the intelligence leadership to the questions asked by their representatives.”

The specifics here are important, because last week, Clapper suggested that his answer was about whether or not the NSA collected emails from millions of Americans, even though Wyden’s direct question concerned “any type of data.” Now we know that (1) Clapper had this question ahead of time and (2) was later given a chance to clarify his answer. And he still stood by his “no” answer — which he now calls “the least untruthful” answer. But we can drop the “least” part of that. It was untruthful. Extremely untruthful in light of the evidence that the NSA is collecting all phone records from at least Verizon and AT&T, but likely from others as well.

Update: For clarification purposes, it appears that the hearings Wyden is requesting are about the data collection program, not specifically Clapper and Alexander’s statements. Though, I would imagine that those hearings may turn up more evidence that the earlier statements were, in fact, false.

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Comments on “Senator Wyden Calls For Hearings Over Intelligence Officials Lying To Congress”

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Anonymous Coward says:

More milk! More milk! More milk!
More milk! More milk! More milk!
More milk! More milk! More milk!
More milk! More milk! More milk!
More milk! More milk! More milk!
More milk! More milk! More milk!

There is no single other human being on the planet who will publish more words about this than Mike. Seriously. Think about that. He’s milking this just like he milked Swartz and SOPA. Anything to get the clicks. Truth be damned. Honesty be damned. Mike sold his soul years ago. Nothing else could explain his inability to discuss even the simplest thing honestly. Nothing.

Day after day. Post after post. I’m going nowhere, Mikey. You started this, and you know it.

PopeyeLePoteaux says:

Re: Re:

Yeah right, because everyone else can clearly see you’re right…. Oh wait, you’re not.

Love to see how your temper tantrums are growing more desperate every time you post something.

I’m starting to believe you have OCD, but the funninest part is that your temper tantrums just show that you are the one who gets angry when writting your incoherente rants while every sane person around here just laugh at you or feel sorry for you.

You are not getting people angry, you are just showing how pathetic, retarded and dishonest you really are.

Rapnel (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I appreciate the content of this blog and I appreciate, especially right now, being kept relatively informed without myriad sites and formats involved until I choose to drill into something else. That and I can read interesting posts in a community that isn’t horrid or hostile and throw down some free speech once in a while. This post, the one I’m responding to, looks threatening and that makes me uncomfortable in a general sense. Reads like harassment. You have some stuff to figure out.

Mr. Pond says:

Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jun 11th, 2013 @ 2:30pm

A pointless, meaningless and frankly nasty ad hominem attack. THAT’S your reasoned contribution to the discussion?

On topic; this has been getting quite a bit of press time here in England as well as over the pond in the US. Our government has also been issuing reassurance after reassurance that our data isn’t being hoovered up by GCHQ (equivalent to NSA in the UK). The problem is that very few people believe them.

Covert, possibly illegal and massive government intrusion ==> less trust of government. Why do politicians fail to grasp this?

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s more likely to be something subtle that ruins his career or puts him in prison. Accidents draw too much public scrutiny because they are easy pickings for the press. The other options make the victim look unsympathetic so the media takes press conferences by the DA at face value and doesn’t dig deeper.

This whole NSA thing is really about the failure of the media and its unwillingness to cover hard news. Bloggers have been on top of it for at least a decade. No doubt that is why there are efforts to deny first amendment press benefits to bloggers.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Mikey Milk Man Masnick is milking this story more than any other person on earth. On top of that, he won’t discuss any of it on the merits with anyone. What’s not to understand? You’ve got front row tickets to the biggest demagogue on earth going ballistic. It’s awesome. As far as I can tell, there exists no less honest person than Mike. Behold ye the glory of the Maz.

Anonymous Coward says:

no disrespect meant to Senator Wyden here, but what is the point of that when half of congress have been/are doing the same sort of thing as well? there were so many willing to back what the law enforcement agencies wanted brought into law, even when they were warned of the consequences, even when they were warned about the ‘secret interpretations’ that law enforcement had over the laws and that no one else had the right to know? to me, it looks like the various law enforcement agencies, either singularly or collectively, are running the USA on behalf of certain industries. it definitely looks as if Congress has been pushed to one side like a worn out chair, being brought back into the living room only when absolutely necessary!! this is what happens when certain ‘areas’ are allowed to have too much control and also what happens when those that should be are never held accountable (Congress members!)for their actions or for where their extra funding, lobbying, campaign contributions come from in return for those actions!!

Rapnel (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Hm. You’re essentially saying that Congress, the people’s portion of government, has been marginalized by the executive and we have an executive branch, inclusive of military and police thus prison and war industrial complexes, coup in progress? Did I forget something? Oh, corporate, I forgot corporate.

I’d say we’re pretty much fucked right about now unless A LOT of people can do A LOT of moving and shaking.

Now about those mass bullet purchases and assault arms and capacity magazine restrictions. Talk about a nutter.

I think the folks in charge, you know, dumb asses, the people, you and me, do not demand we right this ship right now we risk a much more difficult confrontation, one with rocks that bite.

Step 1. Issue subpoenas and commence the hearings.
Step 2. Draft, immediately, a digital bill of rights
Step 3. Fix that into law
Step 4. Address Mr. Snowden and the breakdown of security protocol.
(personal step 5. Forever hope that there will always be a Mr. Snowden, dedicated from a people’s perspective, to the founding documents, he too swore to protect it and from my view at 100k feet, I’ll be damned if he didn’t keep it)

And then address health, military, and corporate vacuums and multiple wars that bleed the well being of the people.

Well, it’s a good plan anyway, so I’m sticking to it, Congress should too.

Pro Tips:
Heave ho on those reigns you’ve got there Congress. Them’re big horses you’ve got under those straps. I reckon that there are handful of barred rooms that should have new occupants. Maybe swap places with some non-violent drug offenders and such.

Oh and the Judicial can now feel free to stop throwing down on secrecy. It appears they now have a bit of reality to deal with. Fantastic. Every little bit helps.r

Transmitte (profile) says:

I don’t know Mike as a person, just a writer on a blog I read, but it seems like you’re calling him out for behavior that your committing at the same time. I read numerous blogs daily and this story is all over the place, so I don’t think it’s just him.

And yeah, with this kind of shit being pulled, I say milk it, bleed the cow dry. It’s about time the abuse of power had some light put on it, and we all know cockroaches flee when the lights come on.

Trails (profile) says:

James Clapper releases clarifying statement

I’ve seen that my explanation of my answer has caused some consternation, and wanted to clear the air. Of the one(1) answers given to the question, it was the least untruthful. It was also the most truthful and the least undernontruthlessly misdetruthed. I’m glad we had this opportunity to clear up any misunderstanding you may have had.

Anonymous Coward says:

Wyden knew they were lying at the time

It’s pretty clear that Senator Wyden had been briefed about some of this NSA behavior as part of his Intelligence Committee assignment — he’s been hinting at the court’s abuses for years, but had his hands tied by the secrecy requirements.

So part of his offence at the situation is that he knew they were sucking up telephony metatdata for tens of millions of calls — and that the NSA lied about it, to his face. And they knew he knew they were lying — but they didn’t give a shit, because they also knew he couldn’t call them on it — Top Secret and all. And he knew all this.

Yeah, it’s a Rumsfeldian (“known knowns and known unknowns etc) spaghetti — but I think it’s plausible. Everyone playing knew Wyden would lose his security clearance if and his seat on the committee if he called them on their lies.

And that’s what passes for Congressional oversight these days.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Wyden knew they were lying at the time

It’s pretty clear that Senator Wyden had been briefed about some of this NSA behavior?

A key question is whether Senator Wyden knew how DNI Clapper might have been defining “collect”.

According to Wikipedia, Ron Wyden ?received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1974?. So, considering not just his position as a lawmaker, but also based on his education, we expect Senator Wyden to know the lawyer games that get played with definitions.

Here again is the exact question he posed to DNI Clapper:

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

Did Senator Wyden expect the DNI to read that question as saying, “Look, we know you gathered the data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans, but did you look at that data?”

Or was Senator Wyden attempting to convey, “Look, you can play Humpty-Dumpty games with definitions all day long, but the American public is not going to buy your stupid definition of ‘collect’ “.

Worden Report (user link) says:

Director of Intelligence Lying to Friendly Fire

The ethics of PRISM can be put in terms of lying, as evinced by Robert Clapper, Director of Intelligence at the NSA, before Congress. Kant?s critique of lying can shed light on whether Clapper should have lied. If he should not have, what are the implications for the republic from the compromised democratic accountability? See “The NSA Goes to Congress: Kant on Lying as Unethical”

jerinafrz (user link) says:

In today’s prevailing culture, there is a myth that sex is the most incredible experience for the vast majority of people and that is why sex with anyone, anywhere at anytime is always going to be a blissful, orgasmic experience. This myth is continually being sold to us, particularly in the cinema where sex is portrayed as an earth-shattering experience even when the two people having intercourse have only met a few minutes previously. The physical aspect of sex is all that is being portrayed in many of these encounters. The reality of the complex emotional and psychological processes that cause or dampen desire and orgasm are never referred to.

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