...But you know what does seriously erode our system of checks and balances? It’s when high-ranking government officials lie under oath to members of Congress. That’s what James Clapper did on March 12, 2013, while testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.Read more here.
That day, Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, asked Clapper for a yes or no answer to the following question: “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”
“No, sir,” Clapper replied.
Wyden, who appeared taken aback by the answer, tried again: “It does not?”
“Not wittingly,” Clapper responded. “There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly.”
Three months later, on June 5, 2013, The Guardian newspaper began publishing a series of reports about the NSA based on documents stolen from the agency by Edward Snowden that proved Clapper had perjured himself.
Days after The Guardian’s bombshell report, Clapper told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that he had responded in “what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful, manner.”
Three weeks later, under increasing pressure, Clapper wrote a letter to the senators on the committee, apologizing for providing a “clearly erroneous” answer. He also changed his story, jettisoning the excuse he had tried to answer in the “least untruthful” manner, and instead claimed the reason he had misled Congress is that he had “forgotten” about Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which covered the NSA’s bulk collection of metadata.
Needless to say, members of Congress were not amused. Yet despite calls for his ouster and for criminal charges to be brought against him for perjury, Clapper suffered no consequences for lying to members of the Senate and remained in his position as director of DNI through the end of President Obama’s term.
Of course, this is one thing Edward Snowden did that was helpful to American citizens.