(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.
"He apologized for the confusion caused by his response" He chose the word 'confusion' for his apology? I actually agree with Paul on this one and I disagree that Snowden is a traitor. I'd also like to know whose lives Snowden has risked with his leaks. Lots of bland statements with no meat to back them up.
Here's a surprise to Rand Paul, Clapper is not the reason the public has mistrust of the gov't. Stupid stuff like shooting your mouth off and lying about our President is what has the public up in arms about our do nothing Congress and the right wing of the gov't. That will change in 2014!
I apologize for your confusion. I never would have lied if I thought you would be confused by it. I hope you get over your confusion soon. It's distressing that you are a confused person. BTW, I have a list of all your phone calls and emails... Should I send it to your office, or to your house? Oh, I have some interesting photos too.
"as a doggedly honest and honorable public servant," said Clapper spokesman Shawn Turner. "
until he lies...
their votes still count, right Pete?!
You still use their votes at budget time, right Pete?!
Good luck getting back in office mr. King
lying disgraces the office. king is seriously confused.
He shouldnt have lied under oath. If he was protecting national security he could have just said "I cant answer that." or something ambiguous. I agree with the Senator that he does more damage by actually lying. If any one of us lied under oath we would be prosecuted, but yet somehow when the government lies to us under oath its ok?
So in King's mind it is OK for Clapper to lie? Not sure I understand, but must be politicians logic.
King needs to go.
As much as I often do not agree with Dr. Paul, I do agree with him here. Our government has become a over-expansive pit of lies; lies to others and worst of all lies to Americans. The United States government (democrat and republicans alike) act with little to know regard for checks and balances both domestically and abroad. The only thing that will make this country great again is transparency and truthful conduct, while unchecked/ unquestioned power and lies will continue to bury us. Trust that.
These comments prove that congress still doesn't get it. Snowden is a hero plain and simple. Pretty sad days when Russia has a better grasp on freedom than we do.
Career politicians are doing serious damage to this nation as well
Congressman King does not see a need to protect people's privacy. Speaking for the rights of the individual Senator Paul is the one that history will judge well.
Whenever King takes a stand it's usually on the wrong side. I really believe he'd be really happy with a dictatorship as long as the dictator was a 'flag waving American'.
If you want to protect America, you must protect the American values of freedom. I may not agree with Rand Paul on everything, but that's one issue he understands well.
Paul, Cruz and Rubio don't have a shot at winning in 2016. They already lost the black and women vote.
They really meant "A review of NSA surveillance ordered by President Barack Obama" that continue the policy that began in 2007 under President Bush that was later modified to include the FISA court before President Bush left office.
"Hyperbole" thy name is Rand Paul... and/or (insert any other Teabagger's name here).
Why does anyone care what Peter King has to say? He's a complete snake and has made it clear his entire role in the Republican party is to discredit Paul. Anyone who thinks Clapper is a patriot is delusional. I guess if people who lie to congress are patriots than a bunch of baseball players are patriots too. Stop giving Peter King a place to air his dumb thoughts.
actually, it is king who is a permanent disgrace.
And when he attacks paul, he is sickening...
You are a disgrace. Mr. King for allowing people to lie and blasting those that try to uncover the truth about big government. More people are like Rand Paul than yourself.
I agree with Rand on this one, I'm not so worried about snowden compared with our own government and the fact that people like snowden can access this information.
(Rand Paul considered likely GOP presidential candidates in 2016.) This is a sick joke right? Who with a sane mind would ever, ever vote for that idiot!
Paul Rand is a disgrace in so many ways. Seems like most of the stuff that flows out of his mouth is disturbing.
No one of these GOP guys are worth my dime.