Wait, What?

by Ramesh Ponnuru

I was reading Kevin Williamson’s response to Andy McCarthy and nodding along until I got to this comment: “(I will leave it to the lawyers to unwind Andy’s fascinating argument that James Clapper had a legal duty to lie to Congress.)” I can’t see how to square that characterization of Andy’s post with what he wrote: “[W]hile Clapper should be held accountable for false statements, Senator Paul is conveniently omitting the fact that Clapper’s duty was not to tell the truth — it was to explain that that the matter should not be discussed in a public hearing. Paul is right that lying to Congress is ‘in defiance of the law,’ but so is revealing classified information in a public setting.” It seems to me that Andy is plainly saying that Clapper should neither have told the truth nor told a lie, but instead explained that he would not answer the question in an open hearing.