- The Washington Times - Friday, December 6, 2013

Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the brains behind the Patriot Act who in recent months has called for a scale-back on part of its surveillance powers, now says that one of the nation’s leading surveillance operatives, National Intelligence Director James Clapper, should be fired and prosecuted.

“Lying to Congress is a federal offense, and Clapper ought to be fired and prosecuted for it,” Mr. Sensenbrenner said, in The Hill.

He was referring to Mr. Clapper‘s testimony in March to Senate Intelligence Committee members, during which he insisted the National Security Agency does not collect mass data on Americans — at least “not wittingly,” The Hill said.

Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden showed otherwise, and Mr. Clapper subsequently said sorry for his inaccurate statement.

Mr. Clapper excused it by saying he was only trying to give the “least untruthful” answer he could, that didn’t give up classified information. But Mr. Sensenbrenner found that explanation woefully lacking.

“The only way laws are effective is if they’re enforced,” he said, The Hill reported. “If it’s a criminal offense — and I believe Mr. Clapper has committed a criminal offense — then the Justice Department ought to do its job.”

A spokesman for Mr. Clapper didn’t comment. But Mr. Sensenbrenner also called on President Obama to fire Mr. Clapper, as well as Gen. Keith Alexander, NSA‘s director, The Hill reported.

“The successor of both Clapper and Alexander ought to be civilians,” Mr. Sensenbrenner said, in the report.

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