Director of National Intelligence James Clapper sent a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee apologizing for giving an “erroneous” response when he said in a hearing that the National Security Agency does not collect data on millions of Americans, the Washington Post reported Sunday.
“I have thought long and hard to re-create what went through my mind at the time,” Clapper said in a previously undisclosed letter dated June 21, as quoted in the Post. “My response was clearly erroneous — for which I apologize.”
According to the Post, Clapper wrote that he misunderstood the question he was asked. During an Intelligence Committee hearing in March, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) had asked Clapper if the NSA collected any data on millions of American citizens, to which Clapper answered: “No, sir.”
When he came under fire for that response in June, Clapper had said that he thought he responded to the committee in the “least untruthful manner,” given that officials are unable to discuss classified information in public hearings.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.