(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.
So just to clear the air, if a program to spy on every second person in the country is Classified, then it's all right to deny it's existence, under oath. If Nixon, had just classified the break-in at Watergate, then he would have finished his term and gone down as one of the greatest Presidents ever. Interesting. I wonder what else "never existed? Oh oh! Area 51! car that goes 1,000 miles per gallon, shooter on the Grassy Knoll, the mind boggles!
King is an idiot big government hypocrite. Rand Paul 2016 PLEASE!!!!!
Rand Paul is just another Tea Party nut case like Ted Cruz. He should be ignored, and better still, booted out of office.
Love seeing these right wing idiots at each others throats! Hope it's a permanent sign of the future. Bye Bye GOP!
The ONLY patriot here is Rand Paul.
these "governors" of fascist America are so out of touch its unbelievable.
how do you keep voting for these degenerates? Vote independent!
party lines are completely blurred, and are all owned by corporations.
kick them out.. please!
One of them chose to be honest with the American people, one did not. They're not the same.
It was entrapment. Paul loves this kind of political theater – his mindless minions throw money at him after one of these events like he was some manner of God, so this kind of crap is great for packing his personal coffers full of gold and silver.
If Paul were an honest man he wouldn't have deliberately put Clapper in an impossible situation of Congress's own making, and would have instead moved first to change the rules via legislation that would force Clapper to lie if presented with that particular question in a public forum, versus using the rules to entrap Clapper, and given a failure of the legislation, would have reserved questions like this for closed session.
King...........an example of what an elected official should NOT be.
I don't like Rand Paul. but king is saying that it is okay for government officials to Officially lie to congress oversight committee about what they are doing.
How can anyone defend that action and call it patriotic?
Rep King should resign for being dangerously naive and in support lying to us. No leader should be thinking that Americans do not deserve honesty from our government. The guy could have said the information was classified, but he lied instead. Truth has come out and we know we cannot trust our government.
How can anyone be so foolish as to think we can trust the motive of liars? Lying is how charlatans destroy people and countries. The worst part is that millions of Americans now feel more than ever justified in lying to each other. Tolerating proven, blatant deceit from our government employees is a path to self-destruction.
Let statements like these give you a clear insight to which side of the line these politicians stand on. This guy is calling James Clapper a patriot. This is someone who lied through his teeth to Congress about NSA capabilities. Lying to Congress makes you a felon, not a patriot. Meanwhile the person who exposed those lies is being called a traitor?! People who say these things need to be called out and held accountable when they so pathetically attempt to circle the square.
King is a Republican running for reelection in a liberal state - so he needs to show off to the liberals – pathetic
If there is any disgrace to the Senate, that disgrace is coming from King... he should be censored
So...Clapper admitted to lying and Rand Paul is the disgrace?
The world is upside down. People accept corruption. .. as long as their favorite party wins.
King voted against defunding the NSA surveillance on American citizens. If anyone owes an apology to the American people it’s him and whoever else in Congress voted to keep this spying on all Americans going.
I watched Clapper perjure himself and commit contempt on the floor of congress with my very own eyes. While I really don't like Rand, other than his spat with the TSA, I would say he is completely correct.
Peter King is a complete disgrace for not agreeing with Rand Paul!! Clapper committed perjury by directly lying to the American public and Congress!!! Pure and simple!! He should be arrested!! Peter King makes me sick.....he would be the perfect government official under a police state....
Clapper was stuck between lying to congress or divulging classified material. Are people so stupid they think there are no secrets in our government? Rand Paul exposes himself as a fraud, trying to make political hay about this. The Alamo project was classified in WW2. If Snowden were around then, we may have lost the war. I'm too old to goose-step.
So Clapper admits he did lie to the Senate committee.
so the thug who has taken away every speck of our privacy is a hero and the guy whos exposing it a criminal? thats some real spin there.
Rep King is just another RINO who deserves to be thrown out on his hind quarters. Clapper is a liar and a traitor and belongs in prison for lying before Congress, which is a federal crime.
Agree...This goofy Rand can't get any worst than his father. Like father like Son which is a joke.
Congressman King, I believe it is YOU who are a disgrace. The man lied under oath, I guess that just mean much to you anymore which is why you should leave office or move to the other side.
"clearly erroneous"....except Clapper knew it was "erroneous" at the time. Therefore Rand is right and King is wrong. Besides we already have a King as president. No need for another.