Clapper: I Gave 'The Least Untruthful Answer' To Wyden's 'Beating Your Wife' Question On Data Surveillanceby Mike Masnick
Jun. 11, 2013
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There's been a lot of coverage of the exchange between Senator Ron Wyden and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, in which Wyden asked Clapper about whether or not data on millions of Americans has been captured. Here's the exact text:
Wyden: Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?If you'd like to see the exchange for yourself, here you go:
Last week, Clapper claimed that he thought that Wyden was only asking him about emails, even though Wyden clearly states "any type of data." This week, it appears that Clapper is taking a different position, claiming that the question itself was unfair and a form of the loaded question logical fallacy often referred to "have you stopped beating your wife?" which is exactly what Clapper described Wyden's question as being:
ANDREA MITCHELL:That's quite an answer. First, let's go with the big one: Least untruthful manner? In other words, it was a lie, but I could have told bigger lies. But he's still admitting that it was a lie. Lying to Congress is generally not a good idea. Second: in what possible way is "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" a loaded question of the "when did you stop beating your wife?" variety? There doesn't seem to be any unjustified assumption within the question at all. It's a pretty basic question, in which a truthful answer ("yes, we do") does not lead to a fallacious admission.
So, now we have the Director of National Intelligence lying, admitting to lying, and then blaming the questioner by making two separate false claims about his question ("it was about email" and "it was a loaded question"). Why is he still in this job?