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Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. acknowledged that the National Security Agency has searched for Americans’ communications without warrants in massive databases that gather e-mails and phone calls of foreign targets.
Although recently declassified documents made clear that the NSA had conducted such searches, no senior intelligence official had previously acknowledged the practice. Clapper did so in a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden released Tuesday.
The most senior US intelligence official told a Senate oversight panel that he “simply didn’t think” of the National Security Agency’s efforts to collect the phone records of millions of Americans when he testified in March that it did “not wittingly” snoop on their communications.
James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, made the comments in a letter to the Senate intelligence committee, released in full for the first time on Tuesday.
Portions of the letter, in which Clapper apologised for giving “clearly erroneous” testimony at a March hearing of the committee, were first reported by the Washington Post on Monday. Clapper had previously said that his answer to the committee was the “least untruthful” one he could publicly provide.
In the full letter, Clapper attempted to explain the false testimony by saying that his recollection failed him. “I simply didn’t think of Section 215 of the Patriot Act,” he wrote to committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (Democrat, California) on 21 June, referring to the legal provision cited to justify the mass collection of Americans’ phone data, first disclosed by the Guardian.
Clapper is under intense pressure from legislators displeased by his March testimony to the Senate intelligence committee’s Ron Wyden (Democrat, Oregon) that the NSA did “not wittingly” collect, as Wyden put it, “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.”
Full article: http://www.guardian. … per-senate-erroneous