Lost in the plane-chasing, Moscow-airport-limbo-ing dramatic Snowden headlines today is a bombshell revelation: America's most senior intelligence official lied to a Senate intelligence committee.
Not that James Clapper is admitting he committed perjury by intentionally misleading our elected representatives.
He claims instead that he gave an 'erroneous' answer because he forgot about the Patriot Act. And you know he'll get away with it.
In testimony he gave in March to the Senate intelligence committee's Ron Wyden (D-OR), Clapper said the NSA did "not wittingly" collect "any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans." More of that exchange is transcribed here.
But in a letter released Tuesday, Clapper told Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) his remarks were "clearly erroneous." He blames the error on the fact he was thinking about a different kind of surveillance, the collection of internet data of persons the NSA believes to be foreigners outside of the US. By the way, if you use encryption, you may be flagged by default as a non-American in this program.
"I apologize," Clapper wrote. "While my staff acknowledged the error to Senator Wyden's staff soon after the hearing, I can now openly correct it because the existence of the metadata program has been declassified."