Why No Perjury Indictment for Clapper?

by Jacob G. Hornberger
Jun. 13, 2013

The feds indicted and prosecuted Martha Stewart for lying to federal investigators about a stock trade. They also indicted baseball star Roger Clemens for supposedly lying to Congress about drug abuse.

So, the obvious question arises: Why no perjury indictment against Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, Jr.

Consider the following testimony that Clapper gave to Congress last March:

Senator Ron Wyden: Does the N.S.A. collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?

Clapper: No, sir. Not wittingly.

In light of the revelations regarding the super-secret NSA surveillance scheme on the American people, which is no longer super-secret, what other conclusion can be drawn than that Clapper knowingly, deliberately, and intentionally lied to Congress?

In fact, he's even pretty much confessed that he lied. According to the New York Times, "In an interview on Sunday with NBC News, Mr. Clapper acknowledged that his answer had been problematic, calling it 'the least untruthful answer he could give.'"

So, why no perjury indictment? Why no indictment for lying to Congress in an official hearing? Why no indictment for obstruction of justice? Why not the same treatment for Clapper that the feds meted out to private American citizens Martha Stewart and Roger Clemens?

After all, let's not forget the words of David Kelley, the U.S. Attorney who prosecuted Martha Stewart for lying to federal investigators about a stock trade: "The word is -- beware -- and don't engage in this type of conduct because it won't be tolerated."

Really? Why then is such conduct being tolerated in the case of Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, Jr.?

Or recall the words of federal prosecutor Courtney Saleski in the Roger Clemens trial: "He did that at the expense of our Congress. He threw sand in their eyes. He stole the truth from them."

Isn't that what Clapper did to Congress when he knowingly lied to them about whether the NSA was collecting data on millions of American citizens?

One might say, "But Jacob, he was lying to protect ‘national security.’"

My answer: So what? Since when is that a defense to a perjury charge? Sure, it might work to reduce his sentence after he's convicted but nowhere does the law recognize the protection of "national security" to be a defense to a charge of perjury for, for that matter, murder, robbery, burglary, or any other crime.

I'll tell you why they're not indicting James R. Clapper, Jr. It's because he is a high official in what has effectively become the national-security branch of the U.S. government, a branch that consists of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. For all practical purposes, officials in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches aren't about to enforce their perjury laws against what they know has grown into the most powerful of the four branches of the federal government.
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News' Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano's show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.

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