In March 2013, then-intelligence chief James Clapper provided “clearly erroneous” testimony to Congress about mass surveillance. On Monday, he will likely avoid facing any charges for doing so.
In this particular case, the statute of limitations concerning criminal statutes that cover lying to Congress are set to expire on Monday.
Back in 2013, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) asked Clapper:
“What I wanted to see is if you could give me a yes or no answer to the question: Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of America?”
Rubbing his head, Clapper responded, “No, sir.”
He then added, “Not wittingly.”
Clapper ultimately admitted he provided “clearly erroneous” information to Congress, claiming he “simply didn’t think of” all the phone call record collection done by the NSA. However, in a later interview with MSNBC, Clapper claimed he gave the “least untruthful answer” he could think of.
“I was asked a ‘when are you going to stop beating your wife’ kind of question… meaning, not answerable necessarily with by a simple yes or no.”
It should be noted that lying to Congress is rarely prosecuted.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) told the Washington Examiner that Clapper “admitted to lying to Congress and was unremorseful and flippant about it,” adding that the former official has put the “integrity of our federal government” at risk.