Dem rips Clapper: He 'needs to stop making excuses for lying to the American people'

Dem rips Clapper: He 'needs to stop making excuses for lying to the American people'
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Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOn The Money: Inside the Mueller report | Cain undeterred in push for Fed seat | Analysis finds modest boost to economy from new NAFTA | White House says deal will give auto sector B boost Government report says new NAFTA would have minimal impact on economy Hillicon Valley: Washington preps for Mueller report | Barr to hold Thursday presser | Lawmakers dive into AI ethics | FCC chair moves to block China Mobile | Dem bill targets 'digital divide' | Microsoft denies request for facial recognition tech MORE (D-Ore.) took aim at former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperTen post-Mueller questions that could turn the tables on Russia collusion investigators Trump campaign falsely claims Barr revealed 'unlawful spying' in email to supporters Clapper: Barr's spying claim 'stunning and scary' MORE on Wednesday after Clapper denied during an interview that he had lied to Congress in his 2013 testimony.

Wyden, a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called on Clapper to "stop making excuses," accusing him of "lying to the American people about mass surveillance."

"James Clapper needs to stop making excuses for lying to the American people about mass surveillance," Wyden tweeted Wednesday afternoon. "To be clear: I sent him the question in advance. I asked him to correct the record afterward. He chose to let the lie stand."

"When intelligence leaders mislead the public about surveillance, they fuel the cynicism and mistrust of government that lets wannabe authoritarians gain power," Wyden added in a subsequent tweet.

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The comments came after Clapper told CNN's John Berman that he was not lying when he denied to Wyden and the Senate panel in 2013 that the National Security Agency "wittingly" collected data on millions of Americans.

"[T]he allegation about my lying, I didn’t lie, I made a big mistake and I just simply didn’t understand what I was being asked about," Clapper told Berman. "I thought of another surveillance program, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act when I was being asked about Section 215 of the Patriot Act at the time, I just didn’t understand that.”

Wyden has long been a critic of Clapper's, slamming his tenure as director following Clapper's decision to resign one week after President TrumpDonald John TrumpImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent Feds say marijuana ties could prevent immigrants from getting US citizenship Trump approval drops to 2019 low after Mueller report's release: poll MORE's election.

“During Director Clapper’s tenure, senior intelligence officials engaged in a deception spree regarding mass surveillance,”  Wyden said at the time. “Top officials, officials who reported to Director Clapper, repeatedly misled the American people and even lied to them.”

Clapper has maintained that his statement to Wyden before the Senate panel in 2013 was a "mistake," and has denied that he ever tried to hide the scope of the federal government's surveillance U.S. citizens.