The congressman who wrote the Patriot Act demanded Thursday that Attorney General Eric H. Holder investigate the country’s top intelligence official for lying to Congress, saying that he wasn’t honest when he denied the government was collecting Americans’ phone records.
Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner and several other senior members of the House Judiciary Committee said James Clapper’s response to a Senate committee in March when he was asked if the NSA collected “any type of data at all” on hundreds of millions of Americans, and he said, “No, sir.”
Mr. Clapper in June retracted that statement, saying he was “erroneous.”
“Director Clapper’s willful lie under oath fuels the unhealthy cynicism and distrust that citizens feel toward their government and undermines Congress’s ability to perform its constitutional function,” the GOP lawmakers wrote in their letter to Mr. Holder.
The lawmakers said Congress’s duty to oversee the executive branch can’t work if officials are free to lie without repercussions.