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DNI Clapper’s Lawyer Claiming Clapper Lied To Congress Because He ‘Forgot’ About NSA Program

From the Department of you can’t be serious. The top lawyer for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is making a novel argument as to why Clapper did not technically commit perjury despite saying something he knew to be untrue while testifying under oath before Congress – Clapper somehow “forgot” about a massive and highly controversial secret spying program he oversees. 

Yes, you read that right. The general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Robert Litt, is trying to get his boss out of trouble by claiming that the DNI had some kind of epic brain fart while testifying before Congress. Litt’s explanation is that Clapper “mistakenly” thought he was not running a global dragnet program that was vacuuming up private data from American citizens without a warrant when asked by Senator Wyden in a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee if he was doing just that.

Seriously, this is the current explanation.

Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper wasn’t lying when he wrongly told Congress in 2013 that the government does not “wittingly” collect information about millions of Americans, according to his top lawyer. He just forgot. 

“This was not an untruth or a falsehood. This was just a mistake on his part,” Robert Litt, the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said during a panel discussion hosted by the Advisory Committee on Transparency on Friday. “We all make mistakes.”

Slow clap for Clapper and his intrepid legal team. But just when you thought it could not get any more absurd you remember that Clapper had a completely different explanation for why he lied to Congress just after the Snowden leaks came out. Clapper’s first explanation for lying was not that he made a mistake but that he had strategically looked for the “least untruthful” answer to give without damaging intelligence operations.

So did he forget or did he lie to Congress under oath for what he believed was a good cause?

Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.


  1. oldhippiejan
    May 11, 2015 at 11:29 am

    my comment is completely off topic. My dilemma is this: I already had an account with Discus under the name of “social misfit” as shown, however I have been oldhippiejan on firedoglake for 6 years. How the hell do I change to oldhippiejan. I’ve been sitting here for 2 hours attempting to change this and I am at my wit’s end. There seems to be no goddamn answers anywhere I go. When I attempt to log in as oldhippiejan, I am told I do not have sufficient permission to enter the site. What the hell am I supposed to do. I’m damn sick and tired of going around in circles and am ready to give up. Don’t tell me what the hell to try ’cause I’m done trying, so somebody do fucking something.

  2. bsbafflesbrains
    May 11, 2015 at 11:38 am

    What else might he have “forgotten”? Full disclosure of his Partzeimers should be demanded. Now they are just silly with rationalizations and bullshit responses because they just don’t care what anybody in the 99% think or say. We have been kettled into our place and any excuse is valid for any behavior. STFU people cuz we said so.

  3. ThingsComeUndone
    May 11, 2015 at 11:50 am

    First he tried to give the least damaging answer about a top secret program was his excuse thats telling all he had to do was say before the public questioning that that topic was top secret and they could have had a private hearing Congress does this all the time. So read the tea leaves a private hearing was asked for but it was denied Why was it denied very good question but it was denied. Next Nobody forgets a top secret program if they do you must force them to resign for being senile. These arguments of innoncence are not for the law they are for the Media and Fox news viewers in particular.

  4. bsbafflesbrains
    May 11, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Exactly, these are the talking points of the CEO class that know there will be no follow up to the contradictory statements they just made. Corp politics is now fully Govt politics.

  5. ThingsComeUndone
    May 11, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    But why lie at all its not like we expect there ever to be a prosecution in America for spying on Americans?

  6. bsbafflesbrains
    May 11, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    The lie is for them not us. Rationalization requires lying to yourself and then everything you do is acceptable.

  7. ThingsComeUndone
    May 11, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    They do have to lie to themselves agree!

  8. May 11, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Sounds like Clapper is no longer competent to function in his position. Time to get him a nice sunny room and all the oatmeal & prunes he wants?

  9. dick_c
    May 11, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    I believe you can change your display name a couple different ways. Go to and fill in the “name” box. Alternately, you can change your username on the account page. Adding oldhippiejan to the profile page should work fine, though.

  10. GreatLakeSailor
    May 11, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    My “Liberal” senator, Tammy Baldwin, promised me, promised, that she’d look into Clapper lying to Congress; that it was a very serious issue. Her staff even called my house, spoke to me, assured me this was important. She writes me emails about how concerned she is. She writes me emails about “monitoring” the situation. Yep. Been doing that for nearly two years.

    Substantively, she ain’t done shit.
    My guess is she never will.

  11. Alan McLemore
    May 12, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Okay, he just “forgot” about it. If you were caught with a pound of pot in your car, and you tell the cops you “forgot” it was there, you will get the chance to tell a jury in hopes they’ll believe you.

    I think we need to give Clapper the same chance.