As we now know, the NSA has been collecting data on millions of domestic and international phone calls for some time now — since 2006, according to Dianne Feinstein. Maybe this bothers you; maybe it doesn’t. Feinstein insists the program is an essential part of “protecting America”; Congressman Mike Rogers says it has already been “used to stop a terrorist attack in the United States.”
But one person who doesn’t like the idea of the NSA spying on Americans is Oregon senator Ron Wyden. And at a hearing in March, he asked James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, a straightforward question: “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”
Clapper’s answer? “No, sir … not wittingly.”
Update, 5:13 p.m.: Clapper tells the National Journal, “What I said was, the NSA does not voyeuristically pore through U.S. citizens’ e-mails. I stand by that.” Except … that’s not what he said.