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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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August 13th, 2013
05:03 PM ET

Who will review spy agencies?

In a rare news conference Friday, President Barack Obama promised more transparency about National Security Agency spying programs, after U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden forced his hand by exposing their existence.

"We're forming a high-level group of outside experts to review our entire intelligence and communications technologies," said Obama. "I am tasking this independent group to step back and review our capabilities – particularly our surveillance technologies."

Great idea. But which "outside experts" is Obama going to task to create this "independent group"?

Well, in a memo, the president revealed that his idea for this independent group of outside experts is one that will be established by none other than Obama's Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

This independent group will brief their findings through Clapper, and provide a final report and make recommendations through him.

To be clear, the man who already oversees all of the nation's spy agencies, including the NSA, is now in charge of creating a panel to decide whether those agencies are using their technology appropriately.

Earlier this year Clapper testified to Congress about the NSA, and that briefing did not go so well, truth-wise.

"Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon asked Clapper at the March 12 briefing.

"No sir," replied Clapper.

"It does not?" pressed Wyden.

"Not wittingly, no," said Clapper.

Not true!

But it wasn't until after Snowden's leaks made it clear that Clapper's answer was not true, that Clapper offered an explanation as to why he gave false testimony to Congress, telling MSNBC, "I responded in what I thought was the most truthful or least untruthful manner, by saying, 'No.'"

"Least untruthful manner?" See how well that works the next time you take an oath to tell the truth.

Or maybe take a page from "Seinfield's" George Costanza: "Jerry, remember - it's not a lie if you believe it."

When asked how the president can justify having an independent review by outside experts be essentially run by the guy running the spy programs, a senior administration official explained that the independent group has to be "established" somewhere in the government, so they can have appropriate clearances and access.

The official said Clapper would not get in the middle of their work.

Of course not. At least, not wittingly.

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