House Wants DNI James Clapper Investigated

Spymaster denounced for lying to Congress about NSA metadata spying.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill Jan. 31, 2012, in Washington, D.C.
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Seven Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday called for a perjury investigation of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for his false testimony to Congress in March about the National Security Agency.

[READ: Clapper Could Be Investigated for Perjury]

Clapper apologized in June for giving "clearly erroneous" testimony during a meeting of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

During the March meeting Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked Clapper specifically if NSA spies on millions of Americans, to which the spymaster said "No."

Leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden unveiled a secretive government program that did precisely what Wyden suggested in collecting metadata for cell phone and Internet records of hundreds of millions of Americans.

As criticism of that program grows members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder calling for a perjury investigation of Clapper.

[ALSO: National Intelligence Director Apologizes for Lying to Congress]

"Director Clapper's willful lie under oath fuels the unhealthy cynicism and distrust that citizens feel toward their government and undermines Congress's ability to perform its Constitutional function," the letter said. "Congressional oversight depends on truthful testimony — witnesses cannot be allowed to lie to Congress."

The members calling for an investigation are Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.; Darrell Issa, R-Calif.; Trent Franks, R-Ariz.; Blake Farenthold, R-Texas; Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.; Raul Labrador, R-Idaho; and Ted Poe, R-Texas. Sensenbrenner introduced the USA Freedom Act, which would place limits on NSA surveillance.