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Monday, November 19, 2018

Kant on the NSA Lying to Congress

James Clapper, Director of U.S. National Intelligence, told the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee in March 2013 that the National Security Agency was not gathering any type of data at all on millions, and even hundreds of millions, of Americans. After leaked documents showed that Clapper had misled the committee in stating, “There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect, but not wittingly,” he issued an apology to the committee for having made the comment that was “clearly erroneous.”[1] U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein, chair of the committee, praised Clapper as an honest and direct man.[2] The discerning reader realizes the full implications of the difference between being in error and lying. To err is human, but to deliberately fabricate for the benefit of oneself or one’s group is a matter on which particular humans can and do differ morally.


The full essay is at "Kant on the NSA Lying to Congress."


1. Kimberly Dozier, “James Clapper: Answer on NSA Surveillance to Congress Was ‘Clearly Erroneous’,” The Huffington Post, July 2, 2013.
2. Jeremy Peters, “Feinstein’s Support for N.S.A. Defies Liberal Critics and Repute,” The New York Times, July 1, 2013.