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MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Fire James Clapper
We wish to endorse the call by Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Chair of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, Committee on the Judiciary, that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper should be removed and prosecuted for lying to Congress. "Lying to Congress is a federal offense, and Clapper ought to be fired and prosecuted for it," the Wisconsin Republican said in an interview with The Hill. "The only way laws are effective is if they're enforced."
Sensenbrenner added, "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."
It seems clear that you can expect no help from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to which Clapper has apologized for giving "clearly erroneous" testimony, and who, at the height of the controversy over his credibility, defended him as a "direct and honest" person.
You must be well aware that few amendments to the U.S. Constitution are as clear as the fourth:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Even the cleverest lawyers cannot square with the Fourth Amendment many of the NSA activities that Clapper and Feinstein have defended, winked at, or lied about.
Only you can get rid of James Clapper. We suspect that a certain awkwardness -- and perhaps also a misguided sense of loyalty to a colleague -- militate against your senior staff giving you an unvarnished critique of how badly you have been served by Clapper. And so we decided to give you a candid reminder from us former intelligence and national security officials with a total of hundreds of years of experience, much of it at senior levels, in the hope you will find it helpful.
Statements by DNI Clapper re Eavesdropping on Americans
March 12, 2013
Sen. Ron Wyden: "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"
Clapper: "No, Sir."
Wyden: "It does not?"
Clapper: "Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect but not, not wittingly."