But one of the Senate's staunchest critics of the surveillance programs, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., put Clapper in the crosshairs, accusing him of not being truthful in March when he asked during a Senate hearing whether the NSA collects any data on millions of Americans. Clapper said it did not.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said he had been dissatisfied with the NSA's answers to his questions and had given Clapper a day's advance notice prior to the hearing to prepare an answer. Not fully believing Clapper's public denial of the program, Wyden said he asked Clapper privately afterward whether he wanted to stick with a firm 'no' to the question.
On Tuesday, Wyden revealed his efforts to get Clapper to tell him about the program and called for hearings to discuss the programs. He was also among a group of senators who introduced legislation to force the government to declassify opinions of a secret court that authorizes the surveillance.
"The American people have the right to expect straight answers from the intelligence leadership to the questions asked by their representatives," Wyden said.
Clapper's spokesman did not comment on Wyden's statement. But in an interview with NBC News earlier this week, Clapper said he "responded in what I thought was the most truthful or least most untruthful manner, by saying, 'No,' " because the program was classified.
The Senate Intelligence Committee will be briefed on the programs again Thursday.