(CNN) - Rep. Peter King said fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul owes the nation’s top intelligence official an apology after saying he should resign for “lying” to a Senate committee about a controversial surveillance program.
The New York congressman also said that Paul's comparison of National Intelligence Director James Clapper to NSA leaker Edward Snowden is "absolutely disgraceful."
"For Senator Paul to compare that patriot, General Clapper, with someone like Snowden, who is a traitor, who has put American lives at risk - Senator Paul should be ashamed of himself," King said Thursday on CNN’s “The Situation Room.”
"It's an absolute disgrace. He disgraced his office and he owes General Clapper an apology immediately."
Paul told CNN on Wednesday that public congressional testimony by Clapper last March denying the existence of a sweeping electronic data collection program at the National Security Agency had done more to damage the credibility of the intelligence community than the leaks by Snowden that blew the whistle on the spying initiative.
Rand Paul: Intelligence director should resign
Paul, a Kentucky Republican with strong tea party-backing, and King are both considered likely GOP presidential candidates in 2016.
Clapper apologized to the Senate committee for giving members a "clearly erroneous" answer about the surveillance programs.
Intelligence leaks exposed by Snowden, a former government contractor, revealed that the NSA, indeed, had extensive, classified electronic surveillance of telephone and e-mail records.
Clapper later said he was faced with trying to answer a question about a program that at the time was still classified when explaining the discrepancy in his testimony to Congress and the information that arose from the Snowden leaks.
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday, seven Republican Senators said Clapper's "willful lie under oath fuels the unhealthy cynicism and distrust that citizens feel toward their government" and compromises Congressional oversight functions.
Responding to the letter, a spokesman for Clapper underscored the previous explanation of his testimony and highlighted his long-standing reputation of honesty.
"DNI Clapper has been testifying before members of Congress for more than two decades and he enjoys a well-earned reputation as a doggedly honest and honorable public servant," said Clapper spokesman Shawn Turner.
"He apologized for the confusion caused by his response and is focused on working with the intelligence committees to increase transparency while protecting critical intelligence sources and methods."
King said these Republicans calling for Clapper’s resignation are part of "the isolationist wing of the party.
A review of NSA surveillance ordered by President Barack Obama and released recommended changes to the surveillance program including greater judicial oversight and more public transparency.
Rand Paul is right to ask the official to resign. In fact, most government officials should be prosecuted for treason.
Paul, Cruz, Jindal, Palin etc. should be on the cast of Duck Dynasty (their base). King is a statesman. Come 2016 we Democrats better offer a candidate of the same calibre of Rep. King, should he be nominated.
Clapper lied to Congress and to all Americans and our Allies. He should be brought to trial.
Mr King clearly doesn't believe providing material support for terrorists is a disgrace to his office, otherwise he would have resigned years ago.
No Spin... Clapper clearly lied to Congress and the American people. If Congressman King believes otherwise, he is clearly on the wrong side of this issue and the majority of the American people will make him aware of this at the voting booth in November.
"For Senator Paul to compare that patriot, General Clapper, with someone like Snowden, who is a traitor–"
To Rep. King, a "patriot" is a someone who renders blind, unquestioning obedience to governemt, while "traitor" refers to anyone who does not.
"DNI Clapper has been testifying before members of Congress for more than two decades and he enjoys a well-earned reputation as a doggedly honest and honorable public servant," said Clapper spokesman Shawn Turner."
So, he's a "doggedly honest and honorable public servant," is he? That is, until he lies to Congress.
I have to admit, Mr. King, that your attempt to 'smooth' over the obvious by sanitizing that lie is impressive, but a lie is a lie regardless of its source...something you know very well, as a politician, don't you?
Snowden told the truth, Clapper lied. Lying to Congress is illegal...when can we expect charges to be brought against Gen. Clapper? Just a thought Knightsix
It's a great day when the Republicans eat their own
For Rand Paul to call anyone out about dishonesty is the height of hypocrisy. Paul is an admitted plagiarist.
King is incredible. I watched the testimony and Clapper either outright lied about what he knew or followed Obama's lead by being willfully ignorant of the facts. Either is a huge disservice to the country.
uh...Clapper shouldn't have lied if he didn't want to be called a liar.
You don't get to lie to Congress and claim something is classified later and that's why you lied...you state that you can not answer the question because those particular Congress people may not have the security clearance to have the answer. That's an "honest" answer. Deliberately lying is not honest....ever.
Making a $10k donation to Rand Paul today because of this.
Snowden never lied under oath to Congress. Clapper did. We all know who is the real patriot and the real traitor.
You are kidding, right? Rep. King should be paying attention to the Duck Dynasty saga. You may not like what he says, but he has the right to say it. Resign? Let his "employers" decide. The voters.
'likely Presidential candidates'....let that sink in for a moment.
The ones who owe an apology to the country are the airheads who voted for randy, the pre 60s racist fool.
That's why they elected him so he could say disgusting things. Like father like son. The Tea Party wants the rudest crudest most offensive folks they can find to represent them. They run on hatred, white supremacy and some notion that Jesus thinks they're special.
Peter King & other politicians continually put our troops & Americans in harms way everyday, through the use of their overreaching foreign policies and internal spying programs. Folks like Snowden and Paul that reveal these un-American tactics are true patriots.
Clapper should resign and be charged with lying to Congress. one of the few things I can agree on with teabaggers.
A liar is a liar. Rand just called it what it was. Sit down and shut up King.
What do you expect from the right? They brandish every piece of political carrion they can find and the press, especially CNN, go into a feeding frenzy and the news cycle is fouled with the putrid distraction.
Snowden is the patriot. He pulled the curtain back on this unlawful NSA activity. He is paying a huge price for doing this. Clapper still gets to go home to his family and expensive lifestyle. What a backward country we live in.
The general is the traitor. Spying on American citizens goes against everything this country is supposed to stand for.
Whether or not there is wrong-doing, the guy should be punished in some form. It is beyond time that we do not accept erroneous information from our politicians. They enjoy benefits and high pay, yet work less than most of us. They hire a full staff to help them with their jobs. Before they speak, they should know everything 100%. Politicians have become like the media, spout off nonsense without knowing all of the facts. It's a terrible practice and should be condemned every chance we get.
i'm glad to see some republicans are starting to get embarrassed.
Let's see....Clapper lied to Congress about NSA data collection...admits it and apologizes for it....and he's a patriot? Mr. King, in my opinion, just disqualified himself from running for the presidency. If you can't call a liar as they are, you have no business running the country. I'm not a Paul guy, but at least the man has some principles and recognizes them in others.