The Hill — He said he “simply didn’t think of Section 215 of the Patriot Act,” which contains provisions on the metadata collection detailed in reports on the NSA program.
“Instead, my answer focused on the collection of the content of communications,” he wrote. He indicated that he was thinking about Section 702 of the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which allows the NSA to collect information on people reasonably believed to be outside the United States. “That is why I added a comment about ‘inadvertent’ collection of U.S. person information, because that is what happens under Section 702 even though it is targeted at foreigners.”
After The Guardian newspaper stories revealed the NSA was collecting metadata on Americans’ phone calls last month, Clapper initially defended his comments at the hearing. He said in an MSNBC interview last month that he responded in the “least untruthful” manner possible to a question about classified information.
“I thought, though in retrospect, I was asked a ‘When are you going to stop beating your wife’ kind of question, which is … not answerable necessarily by a simple yes or no,” Clapper said.
Oh, of course, that explains everything! When asked under oath by Congress, the Director of Nat’l Intel, the man tasked with carrying out all manner of policy with a specific emphasis on the Patriot Act, simply had no idea what he was being asked or talking about. As if English and all that intel jargon is not his native language or something. That is until exposed by the Guardian, at which point Clapper first feebly defended his prior lies and, when that didn’t wash, his memory and acumen miraculously improved. Of course, it makes all kinds of sense. /sarcasm
But the real story here isn’t that our Intel Czar is either 1) utterly incompetent or 2) intentionally perjuring himself (I remember when perjury before Congress was a Big Fucking Deal). No, no, just ask the Village Idiots lurking inside the Beltway: the real story is why didn’t Edward Snowden remain in the US, or go through the system to report malfeasance and security breaches, or at least use a traditional DC rag and a celebrity reporter to release his scoop? Amirite?