On Tuesday’s “America Live” on the Fox News Channel, network senior political analyst Brit Hume reacted to misleading and perhaps false statements from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper before a public hearing in Congress about allegations of the existence of the National Security Administration’s data collection program.
Hume noted an answer Clapper gave in hearing back in March when asked about data collection by Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, which now has Clapper in hot water with Wyden, part of a pattern with Clapper he noted.
“The question couldn’t have been more perfectly designed to elicit an answer based on this program,” Hume said. “That wasn’t misleading. It was flat-out false. This guy, Clapper, has a history of unfortunately public statements, and this is just one more of them. Remember he said the Muslim Brotherhood was largely secular. Remember that?”
Hume said Clapper had every opportunity to give a straightforward answer, or not at all. Instead he chose to answer in a “dumb and untrue” way, Hume said. There have been other times when Clapper had “misspoke,” which Hume noted that includes in a 2010 ABC News interview when he admitted he had no knowledge of a terrorist plot that led to the arrest of 12 men in London.
“There is a claim that in the annals of intelligence gathering that the word ‘collection’ has a certain meaning,” Hume said. “But look, that question that he was asked by Wyden was provided to him a day in advance. Now, he wasn’t being asked that from somebody who necessarily knows all the lingo of the intelligence community. He was asked by a senator in a public hearing. Now, you’d have to be brain dead to look at that question and think that, ‘Oh, he’s referring to this narrow meaning we sometimes use has to do with spying or particular people,’ or whatever. It’s ridiculous. It’s an absurd answer. Clapper may be for a fine man. For all I’ve heard he is. He may be a publicly spirited guy. He says all kinds of dumb things, and here he says something that is dumb and untrue.”
“‘I need to give you an answer in closed session.’ That happens all the time. Sometimes say, I need to speak to you later,” he continued. “Anything like that would have let the cat out of the bag, to some extent. When he had the answer later away from the lights of the hearing, he certainly should have done that. Remember he said in an interview with Diane Sawyer some time back, and on that day there had been a big arrest of suspected terrorists in Britain, he didn’t know about it.”
Clapper’s colleagues in the Obama administration have had similar problems, the Fox News senior political analyst pointed, especially regarding last year’s terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
“You know, this is a peculiar habit of this administration, Megyn,” Hume said. “It often happens in the course of scandals and uproars that officials say things that later turn out not to be true. This administration is in the habit of saying things we already know are not true. It’s a very peculiar way to proceed in dealing with a scandal like this. Look, I happen to think that the NSA program is valid and legitimate. And I don’t think anything that this leaker has said, who is being called a whistle-blower, which I doubt — but I don’t think anything he has said points us in the direction of any specific abuses of any kind. I think the safeguards that are built into it are fine. But I do not understand why the people in this administration can’t seem to shake hands with the truth. It’s maddening when people ask perfectly straightforward questions and get answers like that. And then Jay Carney comes out and says, ‘Oh, this is all on the up-and-up.’ It’s not.”