Shahid Buttar, a constitutional lawyer and executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), was arrested by Capitol police at the end of a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in which Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified.
In video posted by the peace group, CODEPINK, Buttar shouts a question about NSA surveillance at Clapper as he is leaving. An officer is already nearby, which suggests he had already tried to get Clapper’s attention prior to the first question heard in the video.
“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?”
The Capitol police arrested him for visibly “demonstrating,” a charge Buttar disagrees with because he was just trying get Clapper’s attention while he was in earshot.
Later, Buttar reacted to his arrest, “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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