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View Diary: Sometimes perjury is cool but other times it's not (24 comments)

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  •  You just said (0+ / 0-)

    in a lot of words the same thing that I said, and then said it would be easy to prove.

    I am not understanding why you think it'd be so easy.

    You have to prove a number of things:

    One, that they were aware of the information that conflicts with their statements.

    Two, that they did not misinterpret the question in such a manner that made their answers true based on their understanding of the question.

    Three, that their answers were not an inadvertent miscommunication.

    Proving perjury is not easy.

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 09:55:31 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  In this case, though, it is easy. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sunspots, wilderness voice, paulbkk

      We know for a fact that Clapper was intentionally saying something he knew to be false. There is just no ambiguity here.

      •  Do we? (0+ / 0-)

        I mean, yes, there's a prima facie case for it, and I certainly think he was fulla BS. But proving it is another matter.

        "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

        by raptavio on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 12:52:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You think it's conceivable (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wilderness voice, paulbkk

          that James Clapper was simply unaware of the existence of these programs?

          •  Conceivable? Yes. (0+ / 0-)

            I think the probability is somewhere near 1 that the director of the NSA does not have personal knowledge of every program the NSA is running; that said, the scope of this one indicates that the likelihood of Clapper being ignorant of it is quite low -- probably too low to defend against a perjury charge.

            More likely, Clapper would be able to craft a credible legal defense (at least one not laughworthy) by claiming he misunderstood the question, or that the program slipped his mind when the question was asked, or somesuch like that.

            Barring that, a truly interesting defense would be to say that he was forbidden by secrecy laws to acknowledge the existence of the program on the floor of Congress, and that the Congressman asking the question knew it when he asked.

            An even more interesting defense would be to say that what Clapper said was true; after all, the NSA isn't collecting the data; Verizon is. It's just sharing that data with the NSA.

            Basically, it would be, barring an admission from Clapper, extremely difficult to make a perjury charge stick.

            "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

            by raptavio on Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 03:03:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Also, he had time to prepare... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sunspots, wilderness voice, paulbkk

      It wasn't a spur-of-the-moment question.  Wyden submitted his questions, so Clapper knew he needed to have an answer.  Even if you don't think you could prove "knowingly and willfully", you could at a minimum show incompetence - hence the request for a resignation.  If the best Clapper can do with his authority and several days notice is come up with a wrong answer to a clear and simple question, then he shouldn't have the authority that he has.  

      On the other point, if Congress wants to be taken seriously, then at some point they should prosecute someone.  It's not like they haven't moved forward before without cases that are ironclad.

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