Quoted: Patriot Act author calls for firing of National Intelligence director

“Lying to Congress is a federal offense, and (James) Clapper ought to be fired and prosecuted for it.”

Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr., who wrote the Patriot Act, talks to Hillicon Valley about Clapper, director of National Intelligence. As we’ve written, Clapper has admitted to providing “erroneous” information at a congressional hearing in March: He said the NSA does not collect data on millions of Americans. Report after report, based on leaked government documents by Edward Snowden, have shown otherwise.

The USA Patriot Act, which President George W. Bush signed into law in 2001, helped pave the way for mass surveillance after the Sept. 11 attacks. But after revelations that the NSA has scooped up everything from phone-call records to online communications to cellphone locations, Sensenbrenner now thinks U.S. intelligence agencies have gone too far. (The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — whose job it is to issue orders for specific collection of information — also has found “systemic overcollection” by the NSA.)

“Somewhere along the way, the balance between security and privacy was lost,” Sensenbrenner reportedly said. As we wrote in October, he and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., have introduced the USA Freedom Act, which would rein in NSA spying. And speaking of that, President Obama said in a TV interview taping Thursday that he plans to propose “some self-restraint on the NSA,” but did not give specific details.


Photo of James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, from Associated Press archives

Levi Sumagaysay Levi Sumagaysay (3583 Posts)

Levi Sumagaysay is editor of the combined SiliconBeat and Good Morning Silicon Valley. She also blogs and is the online producer for SiliconValley.com, the Mercury News tech website. Email: lsumagaysay (at) bayareanewsgroup (dot-com).