December 19th, 2013
08:56 PM ET
1 year ago

Peter King: Rand Paul 'disgraced' his office

(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.


Filed under: Peter King • Rand Paul
soundoff (517 Responses)
  1. onealydragon

    Paul is just another jerk trying to embellish his career and stature on the backs of others. Like Paul hasn't lied to Americans in general.

    December 20, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  2. Linda

    Rand Paul, like the rest of the Tea Party, is a whack job.

    December 20, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  3. Liz

    Rep.Peter King, should spend his time attacking the Obama administration, he is another RINO. King spends more time attacking the hand that feeds him. Tlhis has become his crusade to destroy fellow republicans. I stand by Rand Paul.

    December 20, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  4. PM Ohio

    What the Right forgets, is that thier demi-God Bush opened this can of worms. After the 9-11 bombings, the power to spy on everyone without warrants was blindly given to GW Bush and his neo-cons by saying the word "terrorism" as part of the Patriot Act. Now that a liberal is President, the Tea Party and the Righ don't like the power they gave Bush and his war mongers. If you were against the Patriot Act when it was 1st passed you were called "anti-American." How soon we forget, or how soon the GOP hopes we forget. Just like the individual mandate for health inssurance, that the GOP fully backed and supported, until a Democrat actually adopted it...The GOP is doing nothing productive for the country. They even abandon thier own good ideas as soon as a liberal says, "That's a good idea".

    December 20, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  5. RonFromNM

    Peter King, you are the one who disgraces the office, by violating your oath to defend the Constitution and its Bill of Rights.

    December 20, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  6. Tony

    Rand Paul wanted to force Clapper to reveal classified information in public, which is like what Snowden did, except Snowden did so voluntarily.

    December 20, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  7. PM Ohio

    If you have a security celarance as high as Clapper, your oath to protect the Country's secrets trumps a public Congressional hearing. He should have taken the 5th and the Committee members should know not to ask questions in a public format that endanger the security of the United States. That's what happens when you have unqualified Tea Party rookies opening thier big mouths in an open hearing asking questions to put this Patriot iin the position to lie to protect us all.

    December 20, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  8. geckopelli

    Paul seems to be one of the few senators who Isn't a traitor to the American People.
    King, on the other hand,,,

    December 20, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  9. Tom in Desoto, TX

    Rand Paul wants to return to a point in time before he was born. He needs H.G. Wells time machine to escape this damned 21st century he appears to be locked in forever, along with the rest of the Lipton-ettes (think tea party)

    December 20, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  10. Willly Nilly

    It's past time for the Republicans to expose the Tea Party wannabes for what they are. King calling out Paul is just what this country needs. For too long the main stream Republicans have stood by passively while the Tea Partiers had their little tantrums, one after the other. Shut them down.

    December 20, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  11. carlos

    PM Ohio

    Yes, how soon we forget. "You're either with us or against us." The real patriots were against.

    December 20, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  12. Rosslaw

    Rand Paul plagarized his criticism of Gen. Clapper

    December 20, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  13. dis

    disgrace is spying on we the people and trying to justify that crime, these guys make me sick, the sooner they are in jail the better..

    December 20, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  14. Ben

    We know two things for sure.

    1. Clapper lied. Knowingly, and his "remorse" is pretty obviously false, and only because he got caught.

    2. Snowden didn't lie. All his revelations about the NSA have been true. And revealing them has not hurt the United States' people, just the scum like Clapper (and Obama) who think 1984 is a handbook for governance rather than a warning.

    Clapper is the real traitor, along with Alexander and others involved. Snowden did break the law, addmittedly, but uncovering illegal and traitorous acts by people like Clapper fits well within my understanding of protected whistleblowing. Eventually we'll be throwing parades for him while carting Clapper off in handcuffs. I hope the people who voted for King remember his stance the next time he's up for election.

    If there's one thing that seems to be unifying left and right, it's horror at the creepy Orwellian actions of the NSA and their protectors (Obama, Pelosi, King, Feinstein, etc.).

    December 20, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  15. Dan

    Let's all quit pretending that this liberal vs. conservative contest is meaningful or real. You have no control over your country, you just live here. This battle of ideologies is made up to keep us busy while the powerful compete for total control. The liberals are not liberal; the conservatives are not conservatives. They are playing on our fears and emotions; unfortunately, the citizens who do not put their critical thinking skills to full use join one group; the idealist join the other. We ignore our similarities and amplify our differences. Then, someone with an anachronistic sense of history starts talking about violence, all because he doesn't agree with some gas station attendant's opinions on economics; neither having any formal training in the subject. We lost, let's enjoy all of the new fancy products they provide.

    December 20, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  16. Paul

    It may surprise people to know that Clapper is obligated, by law, to answer questions put to him by Senator Paul. He can refuse to answer, but he cannot lie. The good General and Eric Snowden betrayed the trust of the country, in different ways, but the net effect is the same. It's funny how left leaning people have to be reminded of the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution. The intelligence community and oversight committees have to trust each other for the system to work. The committee's understand they aren't being told everything, the flip side is the Intelligence community cannot lie.

    December 20, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  17. Fred Phred

    Hate to say it but if you or me stood in front of Congress and knowingly lied, you want to place a bet as to where we'd be right now?

    In a jail cell trying to arrange bond. Why is this guy any different?

    December 20, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  18. Ben

    Wow, lot of lefties seem to be bashing Paul for this. I would have thought the left would stand up for the right to privacy, but it turns out as long as Obama is ok with it, they are happy to be under the control of others.

    December 20, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  19. canniwander

    King is a piece of santorum if he thinks Clapper is a patriot. He is a felon, which is what one becomes when they lie to congress under oath. King can rot in a cell on Cuba for all I care.

    December 20, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  20. jimmy

    peter king devotes 100% of his time to the country he loves and is a great patriot to that country. unfortunately that country is Israel, not the US.

    December 20, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  21. Rudy NYC

    PM Ohio

    If you have a security celarance as high as Clapper, your oath to protect the Country's secrets trumps a public Congressional hearing. He should have taken the 5th and the Committee members should know not to ask questions in a public format that endanger the security of the United States. That's what happens when you have unqualified Tea Party rookies opening thier big mouths in an open hearing asking questions to put this Patriot iin the position to lie to protect us all.
    --------------------

    [ co-sign ]

    That's the part that where Rand Paul has chosen to become willfully ignorant.

    December 20, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  22. lejaune

    The problem we have is there are too many Peter King and not enough Rand Paul in the Congress.

    December 20, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  23. ricardo1968

    King is overreacting. It is well known that some of our security organizations have a serious lack of accountability that needs to be addressed. If it weren't for Snowden, how would any one know that Clappers statements were erroneous?

    December 20, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  24. DGB

    There is a big difference... Snowden apparently told the truth, and Clapper apparently lied.

    December 20, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  25. ritmocojo

    Rand Paul should just change his name to 'Rant' Paul. Period!

    December 20, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
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