I want to believe in America.
But it’s getting hard to believe there is anything to believe in. It feels like chaos: The little people always have to toe the line, while those at the top always get a pass. Not one banker went to jail for defrauding millions of citizens in the great recession. No government official was prosecuted for spinning the lies about Iraq’s non-existent weapons.
But recent news presents a case that may not be able to be swept under the rug: an official at the the highest level, caught making a bold-faced lie. To Congress. Under oath. Regarding one of the pillars of the Constitution - our right to privacy.
Three months ago, the country’s Director of National Intelligence was asked by a U.S. senator whether the National Security Agency collects “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans” - and he flat-out lied. (See http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2013/jun/07/privacy-wyden-clapper-nsa-video)
The Director, James R. Clapper, Jr., said “No,” and that answer worked - until last week, when a whistleblower leaked the truth about the NSA’s massive surveillance programs, forcing Clapper to backpedal. He said he had misunderstood the question (That’s another lie; he’d been sent the question, in writing, the day before he appeared in Congress). He tried again, saying the government doesn’t read our emails. That’s a nice thought - but that wasn’t the question (Again: “Does the NSA collect any type of data...”). Finally, he said he had given “the least untruthful answer" - thus admitting he had lied under oath, to Senator Ron Wyden, to the entire Senate, and to all of America.
How long do you think you’d last if you were caught lying to Congress?
Let’s not let it be business-as-usual for those who abuse our trust. Let’s draw a line in the sand. Let’s insist that, for once, there be accountability.
Please sign the petition (see below; sign at right) asking Harry Reid, the majority leader of the Senate, and Eric Holder, the U.S. Attorney General, to arrest and try James Clapper for lying to Congress, and for perjury (lying under oath).