DOJ Still Refuses To Investigate James Clapper For Lying To Congress

from the because-high-court dept

By now, it’s well-known that James Clapper directly lied to Congress over a year ago when Senator Ron Wyden asked him whether or not the NSA collected any data at all on millions of Americans (a question he had sent Clapper a day earlier, so he wouldn’t be surprised by it). Clapper insisted the NSA did not, something we now know is completely false. While Clapper first tried to dodge this lie by saying he thought Wyden was asking about a different program, and later claiming that this was the “least untruthful” answer, he eventually admitted that he lied and apologized to Senator Wyden. Back in December, however, a bunch of members of the House Judiciary Committee, led by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (the author of the PATRIOT Act) asked the DOJ to investigate Clapper for lying to Congress, noting that it is a criminal act to “knowingly and willingly” make any “materially false” statements to Congress.

So, how’s that investigation going? Sensenbrenner is wondering that himself, because he received no response at all from the DOJ, leading him to feel the need to send yet another letter, asking whether the DOJ ever planned to get back to him.

On December 19 of last year, I wrote, along with six of my colleagues, to request that you investigate Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for his “erroneous” testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last year. Nearly three-and-a-half months later, we have not received a response or an update on the status of your investigation.

On March 12, 2013, Senator Ron Wyden asked Director Clapper, “Does the N.S.A. collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Director Clapper answered “No, Sir.” Wyden pressed, “It does not?” Clapper replied, “There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect, but not wittingly.”

Now declassified documents reveal that Director Clapper’s testimony was false, and further, that he knew it was false when it was offered. Congress is currently considering proposals regarding intelligence reform. In considering these proposals, we need assurances that we can adequately conduct oversight following new legislation. Congressional oversight, however, depends on truthful testimony. Intelligence officials cannot be permitted to lie with impunity.

I respectfully request an update as soon as possible.

It’s good to see Sensenbrenner following up, though I highly doubt that the DOJ will do a damn thing about it.

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Comments on “DOJ Still Refuses To Investigate James Clapper For Lying To Congress”

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anon says:

Re: I have to wonder

They have everything, every conversation, every email, every phone call…. Everything, that is why Obama will not allow the clapper to be prosecuted as he is very scared he will have to answer some serious questions about things he has been involved in throughout his political career and i am sure there is enough on not only Obama but almost every Politician.

David says:

Re: Re:

If this goes unpunished then

What do you mean, “then”? Wasn’t it pretty clear when Eric Holder lied to congress multiple times about the “Fast and Furious” weapon trades, was forced to investigate himself for it and decided not to pursue actions against himself?

How much more absurd do you need this to get in order to get the point?

TheResidentSkeptic says:

In the good old days....

these 7 would just have had “sudden heart attack” syndrome…now there are just too many people watching…well, we’ll just wait until after the next election that they all just happen to lose…

Did the NSA have anything to do with programming the voting machines???


AricTheRed says:

Re: Re:

I think instead of to the death they will defend it “To the Pain!”

We The People: I don’t think I’m quite familiar with that phrase.

Eric Holder: I’ll explain and I’ll use small words so that you’ll be sure to understand, you warthog faced buffoon.

We The People: That may be the first time in my life a man has dared insult me.

Eric Holder: It won’t be the last. To the pain means the first thing you will lose will be your feet below the ankles. Then your hands at the wrists. Next your nose.

We The People: And then my tongue I suppose, I killed you too quickly the last time. A mistake I don’t mean to duplicate tonight.

Eric Holder: I wasn’t finished. The next thing you will lose will be your left eye followed by your right.

We The People: And then my ears, I understand let’s get on with it.

Eric Holder: WRONG. Your ears you keep and I’ll tell you why. So that every shriek of every child at seeing your hideousness will be yours to cherish. Every babe that weeps at your approach, every woman who cries out, “Dear God! What is that thing,” will echo in your perfect ears. That is what to the pain means. It means I leave you in anguish, wallowing in freakish misery forever.

We The People: I think you’re bluffing.

Eric Holder: It’s possible, Pig, I might be bluffing. It’s conceivable, you miserable, vomitous mass, that I’m only lying here, doing nothing, because I lack the strength to stand. But, then again…

Anonymous Coward says:

Clapper WORSE than Cheney

Where are all those Cheney hating commentators regarding Obama’s DOJ protecting Clapper?? I personally think Cheney should be in jail, but those that remain silent when “your guy” is destroying the Constitution is just as criminal.

Dick Cheney Lies: Claims Not A Single Case Of NSA Abusing Its Authority

BitterReality (profile), Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 8:42am
What else could be expected?
Psychopaths can always be depended on to defend and protect fellow psychopaths.

Pixelation, Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 8:49am
How do we know Dick Cheney is lying?
…His mouth is open.

weneedhelp (profile), Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 9:16am
Dick “The Fucking Leech” Cheney lied? The sun is warm, the sky is blue and grass is green. Move along now.


supahTyphoon (profile) says:

Wrong Flavor

Give the DOJ a disillusioned angry kid subject to ideas of profound destiny through destruction and you have a happy lot of public servants. Give them a rebellious natured young man whose moral compass points him towards new and fantastic directions by freeing information and they’ll order up heaping portions. Give them a whistle blower that attempts to enlighten the world by revealing egregious abuses and they will devour their morsels. Give them one of their own and hunger turns to might and they’ll resist their serving with petulant disgust while they continue to try and tell you what is wrong and what is right.

David says:

How can the DOJ prosecute Clapper for lying?

I mean, Eric Holder has lied multiple times about his illegal arms trading to Congress. He cannot start prosecuting Clapper for perjury and set a precedent.

The DOJ would have to shut down if lying to congress was considered to be objectionable when done by government officials in higher positions.

You can either serve your country or serve time, but not both at once.

Anonymous Coward says:

When it comes to government that is anything but corrupt, I’m having a hard time seeing whether it is the GOP or the Dems that are more corrupt. They look the same from this side of the fence. Face it the two party system isn’t working.

That dysfunction shows up in places like this where there is a distinct lack of willingness to enforce the laws of the land or perhaps it would be more accurate to say selective enforcement is supreme. All parties are equally guilty in this.

It goes to demonstrate that there is no effective oversight without willingness to enforce the laws. As a political member you can break the law with impunity as long as you know it isn’t going to take you to court.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Actually, despite what some in Congress will tell you, Congress has it’s own enforcement arm (like it’s own police force) and it’s own jail for holding people in contempt. They can actually have people arrested for refusing to testify, though they won’t and don’t want anyone to know about it. This goes all the way back.

Anonymous Coward says:

As well they should given that every member of the committee already knew the answer to Wyden’s question, having been provided same by Clapper in closed, classified meetings.

“He told the truth on at least two occasions in classified briefings, but when it came to a public forum before the same people who already knew the answer…well, that is at clear attempt to mislead those members of the committee who already had the answer in hand.

Think what you will about Clapper, but at least fairly and objectively consider the propriety of Wyden did. He knew the answer, he knew that if he disclosed it in public his tush would be in a wringer, and he knew that Clapper gave him the perfect opportunity to let someone else take the fall because of his unwillingness to stick his neck out.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Think what you will about Clapper, but at least fairly and objectively consider the propriety of Wyden did

The propriety of what Wyden did? That’s not even in question. He did exactly what he was supposed to do, being a part of the oversight committee, designed to make sure that the NSA is not spying on Americans.

We’ve gone over your line of bullshit before and it’s pure bullshit. If Clapper was afraid of revealing classified information he could have easily said “that’s better left answered in a classified session” — which is the same thing he’s said in open hearings both before and after that hearing.

The idea that he had to lie is a lie. We’ve told you this before. Why do you keep repeating it? The only possible reason is that you are intellectually dishonest.

So, why are you so intellectually bankrupt?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Wyden’s conduct, far from being noble, in my opinion (and that of others you will certainly accuse of being morally bankrupt) is particularly reprehensible and cowardly. He knew the answer, but rather than do what he believed to be the right thing and accept the consequences, he instead chose to throw someone else under the bus.

Maybe you count Wyden as a friend/ally/other, but the fact remains he already knew the answer and could have just as easily presented it himself from the dais (with, perhaps, even constitutional immunity).

The fact you seem unwilling to consider the position in which Clapper was placed by Wyden’s political stunt strikes me as an unfortunate bias.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Wyden’s conduct, far from being noble, in my opinion (and that of others you will certainly accuse of being morally bankrupt) is particularly reprehensible and cowardly. He knew the answer, but rather than do what he believed to be the right thing and accept the consequences, he instead chose to throw someone else under the bus.

You have a bizarre way of looking at how someone on the Senate Intelligence Committee is supposed to handle public hearings. Very bizarre.

The point of public hearings is to ask these individuals questions for the public record. Every question at a public hearing involves something that the person asking already knows the answer to. For you to assume otherwise suggests you either are totally ignorant of how this works or you’re just lying to cover up for Clapper.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You are correct, as always. I should have remembered, as apparently you do, that those on the dais never, ever, present information for inclusion in the Congressional Record. Information included is limited solely to what is answered by those presenting testimony.

Hence, it would have been totally inappropriate for Wyden to make a statement that data was being collected, the extent of such collection, etc.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Uh…the person being “forced” to answer is the very same person who had already provided the answer in a classified hearing. The only “forcing” done here was Wyden attempting to throw Clapper under the bus so that he, Wyden, could score political points without running afoul of the law concerning classified information.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

IOW, every classified hearing where Congress is providing oversight must then be followed by a public hearing so that the public (both domestic and otherwise) can learn about and weigh in on the classified information presented at the classified hearing.

Why even bother with what people here seem to view as a charade designed to purposely keep people in the dark? Perhaps now is the time to simply scrap the entire notion of classified information and instead opt for a totally transparent, secret-free government. Conducting intelligence gathering activities in country X, invite its officials so they know the full extent of such activities and are provided a detailed PP presentation that they can take back to brief their counterparts. Of course, there would be no demands for reciprocity since or goal would be to show were are a beacon of moral high ground as to which they should strive to emulate.

Now would not that be a totally splendid system and would embarrass others to do the same.

There is utopia and there is reality. Just my opinion, but by an overwhelming majority (virtually 100%) others conduct their affairs in the real world and leave utopia to the dreamers largely untouched by reality.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

IOW, every classified hearing where Congress is providing oversight must then be followed by a public hearing so that the public (both domestic and otherwise) can learn about and weigh in on the classified information presented at the classified hearing.

Would you quit your idiotic sarcastic strawmen? They just make YOU look stupid.

NO ONE is saying that everything that is classified must be discussed. But, what you still fail to concede, is that what Wyden asked Clapper was NOT for CLASSIFIED information. He did not ask him to reveal a classified program. He asked a general question about whether or not information was collected on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.

That could have been answered with a simple yes or no, without revealing the nature of that program.

I don’t know why you feel the need to act like a complete idiot around here. It does not reflect well on you or your buddies.

Crazy Canuck says:

As an outsider, I find it very strange that the American’s allow this sort of behaviour. Having a government department basically ignoring to respond to an elected official?

Even if you had a completely insane official asking the stupidest of questions, perhaps sending a letter to the DOJ asking what temperature to cook a turkey, the department should still respond. Though I would expect in that kind of situation that the DOJ would make public what kind of silly requests that official was making so that the public would decide if they really wanted to re-elect them in the future.

Anonymous Coward says:

He did ask for classified information…and the fact you seem unwilling to even entertain this possibility speaks to a profound bias that is presented here and in many of your other articles.

I am not supporting in any way the underlying program pursued by the CIA. My comment is limited solely to the fact that Mr. Wyden seems unable and unwilling to stick his neck out and do what he believes is right. I call that dishonorable and cowardly. Apparently you do not.

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