James Clapper, former director of national intelligence under President Barack Obama, took extreme umbrage when he was accused of lying to Congress after he lied under oath to Congress during 2013 testimony about the administration’s program of widespread surveillance of American citizens.
“I didn’t lie,” the former spook snarled. “I made a big mistake, and I just simply didn’t understand what I was being asked about.”
Mr. Clapper told this lie about his previous lie while on CNN, a cable television channel specializing in fictional “news.” CNN had hired Mr. Clapper to provide scathing commentary about the current president of the United States, a novice politician who had won the White House in a scorching rejection of Mr. Clapper’s former boss who had been a lifelong politician.
Despite his public record of lying to Congress under oath, Mr. Clapper is heralded up and down the corridors of Washington for his particularly trenchant vitriol toward President Trump. Obviously, Mr. Trump must be doing something right to earn such enmity from such an established and vile creature of the Potomac Swamp.
But it is not just CNN that slathers Mr. Clapper with praise. The lying former top spy has now been hired by the University of Pennsylvania to serve on the law school’s “Center for Ethics and Rule of Law.” To be sure, this is a strange area of expertise for a guy who lied under oath to Congress about spying on American citizens.
This is even worse than the College of William and Mary hiring disgraced and fired ex-FBI Director James Comey to teach young, impressionable students about “ethical leadership.”
And some still wonder why people so deeply despise Washington. And academia.
“I didn’t lie. I made a big mistake, and I just simply didn’t understand what I was being asked about.”
Yes, the soft, pastel pastures of innocence in America are filled with regular citizens who got out of trouble by telling the FBI that they didn’t actually lie. They simply misunderstood the question.
Take retired Army Gen. Michael Flynn, for instance.
Oh, wait. No. That excuse did not get Gen. Flynn a high profile job on CNN or a juicy gig orating about “ethics” and the “rule of law” at an Ivy League university. Gen. Flynn got ground to a pulp and left penniless for his service. Today, he waits to learn how many years he will rot in prison.
Gen. Flynn’s great sin? He agreed to serve as Mr. Trump’s national security adviser.
Only today, more than two years since a federal judge ordered the government to hand over evidence that might exonerate Gen. Flynn, do we finally see just how dishonest and conniving federal investigators were in pursuing him.
Initially, the feds claimed to investigate whether the early Trump official had violated the arcane and un-prosecutable “Logan Act” by talking to Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. after the 2016 election.
During late-night emails, virulently anti-Trump FBI agents plotted the best course for setting a trap for the highly decorated three-star general.
In handwritten notes, the former head of counterintelligence pondered after a meeting: “What is our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?”
Think about that question. It is beyond stunning.
FBI agents at the highest levels inside the Department of Justice are seeking criminal charges against a national security adviser to an elected incoming president — a political enemy of the previous administration.
These agents are not even sure what they are after — except that they are after Gen. Flynn. Do they want the “truth?” Or do they merely want his “admission” that he had talked to the Russian ambassador, a thoroughly routine thing for an incoming national security adviser to have done.
Or, do they want to entrap him in a lie, “so we can prosecute” him?
Even that is not the entire universe of options they are considering.
Or, do they wonder, do they want to entrap him in a lie to “get him fired”? These goons, you see, were not after justice or the truth or enforcing laws enacted to protect national security. They were entirely focused on punishing a political enemy.
Why waste time with all the hurdles and loopholes of a legal prosecution when you can punish the man by getting him fired and leaving him financially destitute?
Or, better yet, punish him, get him fired, financially ruin him — and then file phony charges against him as a special parting gift for cooperating with the FBI.
Oh, and screw his silly military service. That holds no currency in this town.
He would have been much better off with a career spying on innocent Americans and then lying about it under oath to Congress.
• Charles Hurt is opinion editor of The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @charleshurt on Twitter.