Clapper Sorry for Misleading Congress over NSA Spying
Richardson, Valerie, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Byline: Valerie Richardson, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
NSA leaker Edward Snowden remained stuck in legal limbo Tuesday as he frantically seeks asylum, but his case prompted an unprecedented apology from the nation's top intelligence officer.
National Intelligence Director James R. Clapper apologized for misleading Congress earlier this year when he said that the National Security Agency does not collect data on millions of Americans.
He called his response clearly erroneous in a June 21 letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Mr. Snowden, 30, has been charged with espionage for leaking documents revealing the NSA's daily sweeps of phone and Internet records, which U.S. intelligence officials have described as pattern analysis, not content analysis, and aimed at unearthing potential terrorist suspects.
Mr. Clapper was asked by the intelligence committee in March if the NSA gathered data on millions or hundreds of Americans. The intelligence chief said previously in an interview with MSNBC-TV that he tried to give the least untruthful answer possible.
Meanwhile, Mr. Snowden's increasingly desperate bids for asylum to escape prosecution on espionage charges could lead him back to America - specifically, South America.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro defended the accused leaker to Russian reporters Tuesday during a visit to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He did not kill anyone and did not plant a bomb, said Mr. Maduro, according to the Interfax news agency. What he did was tell a great truth in an effort to prevent wars. He deserves protection under international and humanitarian law.
Mr. Maduro avoided saying whether he would admit the accused leaker, but Bolivian President Evo Morales said in an interview with Russian Today television that his country would be willing to consider granting asylum to Mr. Snowden.
If there were a request, of course we would be willing to debate and consider the idea, Mr. Morales said on RT Actualidad, a Spanish-language broadcast, adding that in the past, Bolivia was there to shield the denounced. …