Washington (CNN) - "If he doesn't have a good explanation he should go," Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said of President Obama's Director of National Intelligence, in an exclusive interview with CNN Friday.
Pawlenty, a possible Republican presidential contender, was reacting to Director James Clapper's testimony before a House panel Thursday. Clapper described the Islamic group the Muslim Brotherhood as "a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam."
The description of the group as "largely secular" raised enough concern that his spokesperson later issued the following statement explaining his remarks: "To clarify Director Clapper's point – in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood makes efforts to work through a political system that has been, under Mubarak's rule, one that is largely secular in its orientation – he is well aware that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a secular organization."
Speaking exclusively to CNN Gov Tim Pawlenty said, "I'm not sure if he was misinformed, misread the statement, uninformed, but whatever it was that's not a good signal to have the leader of our national intelligence infrastructure say the Brotherhood is a largely secular organization. Something is amiss w either him or our administration's view toward intelligence."
This is not the first time Director Clapper's public remarks have caused a flap. He came under withering criticism when he admitted during a December interview with ABC News that he didn't know about terror arrests in London that occurred hours before the interview.
The DNI coordinates the nation's intelligence about terror and national security.
After the ABC interview critics were outraged the man in charge of intelligence wasn't aware of news that had been on television all day. Clapper's spokesperson defended him saying his "knowledge of the threat streams in Europe is profound and multidimensional."
CNN caught up with Governor Pawlenty after his remarks to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, a gathering of some 11,000 activists including many potential 2012 GOP presidential candidates.
Pawlenty also criticized the White House's overall response to the crisis in Egypt calling it "confused".
Pawlenty said in his view, "The Obama administration's understanding and reaction to this seems to be one of surprise and confusion. You had the Secretary of State say she thought the situation in the early days was stable. You had the Vice President say that Mubarak wasn't a dictator. You had the Department of National Intelligence say they thought the Muslim Brotherhood was a largely secular organization. You had Robert Gibbs say that now means yesterday and at the time it didn't really seem that way and much more. So, their initial reaction to all of this seemed confused and disoriented and that's not a good symbol for clarity and strength when projecting America's interest abroad."