Clapper demands Snowden documents be returned

Intelligence chief who lied to Congress is using fear-monger playbook to slam the Nobel-nominated whistle-blower

Published January 29, 2014 7:40PM (EST)

Relying once again on specious claims to national security risks already undermined by even White House advisers, the director of national intelligence slammed whistle-blower Edward Snowden Wednesday and demanded that his document trove be returned.

Testifying before the Senate intelligence committee, Clapper said, "Terrorists and other allies have gone to school,” Clapper said, suggesting the fallout of Snowden's leaks -- which have brought crucial scrutiny to NSA surveillance practices -- "includes putting the lives of members, or assets of, the intelligence community at risk."

Clapper is not only out of favor with privacy advocates and civil libertarians. A number of lawmakers, led by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., have gone as far as to call for his firing, highlighting that the intelligence chief had expressly lied to Congress last year to underplay the vast spy dragnets operated by the NSA and revealed in Snowden's leaks.

Last year at a hearing on surveillance, Sen. Ron Wyden asked Clapper whether the NSA collected "any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans” — to which Clapper said, "No, sir ... not wittingly.”

Little wonder the embattled intelligence director is now using the fear-monger playbook to besmirch Snowden.

Meanwhile, it was announced today that Snowden has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Although I'd suggest he is worthy of a better honor than a prize bestowed open President Obama and the European Union in recent years.

h/t the Guardian.

By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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