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The National Security Agency's massive data collection program has prompted lawsuits, internal reviews and a fierce congressional debate over whether to scrap it.
But Director of National Intelligence James Clapper apparently forgot the program even existed during a key hearing two years ago.
Robert Litt, the DNI's general counsel, revealed the major memory lapse during a panel discussion Friday hosted by the Advisory Committee on Transparency. He was offering an explanation as to why, in a now-infamous exchange several months before Ed Snowden-leaked materials surfaced on the NSA program, Clapper told a Senate committee that the government does not "wittingly" sweep up information on millions of Americans.
He wasn't lying, Litt said. Rather, "It was perfectly clear that he had absolutely forgotten the existence of the 215 program."