Shahid Buttar, Green Shadow Cabinet Director of Civil Rights Enforcement and a constitutional lawyer was arrested this March by Capitol police in Washington D.C. at the end of a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in which Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified. Buttar was arrested for asking these questions of Clapper as Clapper was leaving the court room:
“In March 2013, you misled the Senate Intelligence Committee about the scope of NSA surveillance. What do you have to say to communities of color that are so hyper-policed that we’re subjected to extrajudicial assassination for selling loose cigarettes, when you can get away with perjury before the Senate?”
“Why is your agency above the law, sir? …Why can you lie to the Senate about mass surveillance presuming the entire globe to be subject to pervasive collection, twisting the meaning of the terms in violations of the statutes in the Constitution restraining your agency?”
“Why are you above the law for perjury and why is the NSA above the law for mass surveillance, even violating the contours that the authors of the Patriot Act intended to authorize in 2001? … And Senators, why won’t you do your job? You’re charged with oversight of these officials.”
Buttar later said, “I asked a simple question of a public official in a public setting that no elected member of Congress has had the independence to ask: how can you lie to Congress and get away with it? It’s a disturbing sign of our draconian times that posing that question is an alleged crime while Clapper’s lies to Congress remain unpunished and tacitly rewarded. Welcome to America!”
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