A lot of people have called for the firing or resignation of James R. Clapper Jr., the Director of US National Intelligence due to the fact he lied before Congress. While I agree that Clapper should go, it is for a different reason. The man doesn't appear to be very bright. It simply doesn't look very good for a nation's top official for an agency that includes the word intelligence in its name not to be all that intelligent himself!
Why do I suggest that Clapper isn't the brightest bulb on the planet? In reading an article in The Washington Post, it recounts how Clapper responded to a question about whether or not the NSA was collecting data on Americans. At the time of the March Congressional hearing, Clapper's response was short and terse. He said no.
It's just that "no" turns out to be an incorrect answer. Secret documents disclosed by Edward Snowden clearly show the answer is a resounding yes. Consequently, it appears that Clapper lied under oath. What flabbergasts me is Clapper's recent explanation for providing Congress with an erroneous answer.
Acknowledging the “heated controversy” over his remark, Clapper sent a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 21 saying that he had misunderstood the question he had been asked.
“I have thought long and hard to re-create what went through my mind at the time,” Clapper said in the previously undisclosed letter. “My response was clearly erroneous — for which I apologize.”
He misunderstood the question? Let's look at it to see what might have caused this level of befuddlement or confusion.
Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?
Since Clapper is the head of National Intelligence, he knows what the NSA is and does. The word collect is a rather routine verb. It means to take in, obtain, compile, gather or accumulate. Any means something more than zero or nothing. Data is something the Director of National Intelligence deals with on a daily basis. Millions are more than thousands, but less than billions. And he should damn well know what an American is!
If this fellow can't understand a simple and straightforward question like that, it makes you wonder if he could muster an answer for an earth shattering question like, Have you finished your sandwich yet?