Seven House Judiciary Members Demand DOJ Investigate James Clapper For Lying To Congress
from the now-we're-getting-somewhere dept
Hopefully that will be changing now.
Back in October, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the author of the PATRIOT Act, argued that Clapper should be fired and prosecuted, but hadn't done anything to move that forward. However, with Monday's ruling now making it pretty clear that the program that Clapper lied about (in response to a question from Senator Ron Wyden), Sensenbrenner, along with six of his colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee have sent a letter to Eric Holder, demanding an investigation into Clapper's lying to Congress. The letter is quite a read. They're pretty direct about calling out Clapper for lying, how this is against the law, how others in government have been prosecuted for the same thing, and even how allowing this to go unpunished contributes to "cynicism" about the government.
Congressional oversight depends on truthful testimony--witnesses cannot be allowed to lie to Congress. Accordingly, we request you to investigate the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's "erroneous" statements to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence earlier this year.It seems unlikely that Holder will do anything, but this is the first official move we've seen towards actually punishing Clapper for lying to Congress. It would be nice if others in Congress supported this effort as well.
[....] 18 U.S.C. § 1001 makes it a crime to "knowingly and willfully" make any "materially false" statement in the course of any "investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee." One of the hallmarks of American democracy is that no one is above the law...
[....] Director Clapper has served his country with distinction, and we have no doubt he believed he was acting in its best interest. Nevertheless, the law is clear. He was asked a question and he was obligated to answer truthfully. He could have declined to answer. He could have offered to answer in a classified setting. He could have corrected himself immediately following the hearing. He did none of these things despite advance warning that the question was coming.
The country's interests are best served when its leaders deal truthfully with its citizens. The mutual sense of good faith it fosters permits compromise and concessions in those cases that warrant it. Director Clapper's willful lie under oath fuels the unhealthy cynicism and distrust that citizens feel toward their government and undermines Congress's ability to perform its Constitutional function.
There are differences of opinion about the propriety of the NSA's data collection programs. There can be no disagreement, however, on the basic premise that congressional witnesses must answer truthfully.