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In an unclassified letter to Senator Ron Wyden, posted by the Senator this morning, Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, responded to a number of pointed questions posed by Wyden.

In doing so, Clapper essentially admitted that he lied before Congress and to Senator Wyden during a March 12 Senate hearing, a month before Edward Snowden's revelations.

As seen in this video from the hearing, the following interaction occurred between Clapper and Wyden:

Wyden: "Yes or no - Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or
            hundreds of millions of Americans?"

Clapper: "No sir."

Wyden: "It does not?"

Clapper: "Not wittingly."

However, in the letter posted by Wyden this morning, Clapper admits not only that the NSA collects phone data on millions of Americans, but internet data as well:
(2) “Has the NSA used USA PATRIOT Act authorities to conduct bulk collection of any other types of records pertaining to Americans, beyond phone records?”

In addition to the bulk telephony metadata collection, NSA has in the past used FISA authorities to collect bulk Internet metadata. The Government terminated this collection program in 2011 for operational and resource reasons as reflected in the classified December 2, 2011 letter to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. NSA has not used USA PATRIOT Act authorities to conduct bulk collection of any other types of records. Additional information is provided in the classified supplement.

Clapper has not only admitted, finally, that the NSA engages in, or has engaged in, bulk collection of phone and internet metadata of millions of Americans, but he has admitted that in March, he lied before Congress when denying that such was the case.

In fact, he begins his letter to Wyden by stating, "It is highly unfortunate that the collection of telephony metadata was revealed through an unauthorized disclosure."

In other words: it's unfortunate I didn't tell you the truth in March.

Those who lie before Congress are supposed to be held culpable. Just ask baseball players who lied about steroid use before Congress.

It's time for Clapper to similarly be held accountable for his lying not just to our elected officials, but to the American people whose privacy rights have been violated.

Originally posted to David Harris-Gershon (The Troubadour) on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 09:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by Writing by David Harris Gershon, Koscadia, and PDX Metro.

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