(CNN) – President Barack Obama's director of national intelligence was flat-out lying when he told lawmakers in March the government wasn't collecting data on millions of Americans, Sen. Rand Paul asserted Tuesday.
The Kentucky Republican suggested intelligence chief James Clapper had lost all credibility in the wake of intelligence leaks showing information on phone calls and internet usage being collected by the National Security Agency,
"The director of national intelligence, in March, did directly lie to Congress, which is against the law," Paul told CNN national political correspondent Jim Acosta on "The Situation Room."
"He said they were not collecting any data on American citizens, and it turns out they're collecting millions of data on phone calls every day," Paul continued. "So it was a lie. What I'm saying is that by lying to Congress, which is against the law, he severely damaged the credibility of the entire intelligence community."
In March, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, asked Clapper whether the NSA collects "any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans."
"No sir," Clapper responded, adding later: "It does not. Not wittingly."
Disclosures of top secret surveillance programs this month showed the government issuing requests to telecommunication firms for millions of phone call records, though collecting actual content of those phone calls requires further authorization.
Paul questioned Clapper's ability to continue in his post Tuesday, saying he couldn't "imagine how he would regain his credibility, when you lie."
The senator – who has said he's considering a run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination – added that Clapper wouldn't have a place in his own White House.
"He would not work in my administration," Paul said. "We have to be able to trust our officials. When you do this – have the ability to completely destroy people's lives, and the ability to actually kill people overseas – I would think you really have to have our utmost trust. And I think he's lost our trust by lying to us."
CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.