December 19th, 2013
08:56 PM ET
7 months 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. jamesmadison

    "He apologized for the confusion caused by his response"

    The word "confusion" does not even come close to addressing what happened here. Clapper intentionally lied. He needs to face a prison sentence for lying to the Senate and the American people while under oath about his agency's direct violation of the constitutional rights of every American. If he can get away with this big of a lie (something that actually affects politics, not something stupid like what happened under the desk in the oval office), I don't see why the American people should feel obligated to tell the truth either.

    December 20, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Paul wrote:

    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. .. ...
    ------------------
    B REAKING NEWS: You are now permitted to refuse to answer questions posed to you under oath.

    Would you like to try to spin that again? LIke most everything, the right wing has it exactly backwards. Clapper's only mistake was to not request a private audience to answer the question. He'd already sworn an oath to never reveal classified information in public. The question he was asked would have forced him to break his oath of office. He panicked and lied.

    December 20, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  3. skarphace

    Pismire: "Anyone who thinks Paul is wrong on this is just plain un-intelligent."

    As compared to someone who will hyphenate the word "unintelligent"?

    December 20, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  4. scarf

    I find it interesting that the Republicans most respected by the country in general are RINOs in the eyes of the Tea Party. The Tea Party even hates their own idols, as soon as they show any desire to accomplish as little as 50% of their goals immediately, instead of 100% of them in some infinitely distant future. They used to love Christie, Rubio, and Ryan. Now, these guys are openly detested. The Republican Party needs to ditch the Tea Party and tell it to form a third party. The Republican Party may have fewer registered voters then, but it would be closer to the mainstream of the electorate than it or the Democratic Party is now, and they may actually have a chance at winning some elections.

    December 20, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  5. Kyle

    Just goes to show that Washington is far removed from the rest of the country. Rand Paul is absolutely loved by the VOTERS in Kentucky and in many places besides. King by deed and word has proven that he needs to go home for a few years and get back in touch with the real country and his constituents.
    Washington DC and the United States of America might as well be separated by an ocean from each other.

    December 20, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  6. PaulB

    @PM Ohio
    I was one of those anti-americans you speak. The Patriot Act was wrong and still is. Its funny how people who supported than forgot they did. Wheres my apology for reckless name calling and slander? LOL, will never happen. But not only did we fall for the patriot act, we fell for the they have WMAs, and away we went to get in Iraqs face, only to find a prolonged war and billions of tax dollars being spent, driving up the American budget and a lot of those funds, can you believe it in Hallburton's pockets. Nah nothing fishy there, no lying either. LOL

    December 20, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  7. Randy, San Francisco

    This time it is both the messenger and message that turns off a majority of Americans. Sen Rand Paul is his own worst enemy.

    December 20, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  8. RL

    The Tea Party and their members needs to be ignored. They are zealots who want to destroy this country. They spew nothing but hatred and dissent.

    December 20, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. Murry Rothbard

    People like Peter King are the types that were tar and feathered back in the day. He's near the top of the list alongside Lindsey Graham and Diane Fienstien. I don't care if the NSA flags this post. String them up.

    December 20, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  10. TheObserver

    The Modern American "Patriot" –

    A war-mongerer first and foremost, ready to send any branch of military into action for any perceived threat or affront toward America, Americans, or American "values". A social (not fiscal) conservative usually from Texas (ironically the only state to ever actually commit treason) or somewhere in the south who chooses to see things only in black and white, leaves no room for debate, and demonizes those who oppose their viewpoints. Someone who endorses physical force as the first or only course of action. Someone who completely ignores war crimes committed by their own elected leaders (see Germany 1939-1945), and moreover strives to support said leaders and organizations in their efforts to remain completely shrouded in secrecy, operating with no sense of transparency, popular support, or sense of political process.

    Ed Snowden is a patriot. The old definition.

    December 20, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. Sid

    King is defending someone who perjured himself before congress & attacking both the guy who called him out on it as well as the guy who provided the proof and PAUL (of whom I'n not a fan BTW) is the one disgracing his office?

    December 20, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. VJ

    Rand Paul is absolutely right on this one... I am with him....

    December 20, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. Ricon

    Sounds like Rep King wants to destroy Paul's chance's for opposing Hillary, so a better opponent can do that job. Can't blame him.

    December 20, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  14. Michael SC

    Clapper was caught lying and King defends that. I don't like Paul, but he said the truth when comparing Clapper to Snowden and King is just another liar and wanna-be

    December 20, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  15. scarf

    MORE: Have I your word that what we say here is between us and has no existence beyond these walls?
    NORFOLK: Very well.
    MORE: And if the King should command you to repeat what I have said?
    NORFOLK: I should keep my word to you!
    MORE: Then what has become of your oath of obedience to the King?
    NORFOLK: You lay traps for me!
    MORE: No, I show you the times.

    December 20, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  16. vbscript2

    "This time it is both the messenger and message that turns off a majority of Americans. Sen Rand Paul is his own worst enemy."

    The message that our Constitutional rights shouldn't be violated and that people who expose those violations shouldn't be prosecuted for doing so turns off a majority of Americans? You might be right, but for all of our sake, I hope you're wrong. Sen. Paul owes America an apology for his antics along with Cruz and friends in the budget debate, but he's spot-on regarding Clapper. Clapper lied to Congress and should resign or be removed from office, along with AG Holder and every other official who has lied to Congress.

    December 20, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  17. Nancy

    Republicans will have to wait until at least 2020 to win the Presidency, assuming they don't disintegrate as a party before then.

    December 20, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  18. Scott

    Clapper lied in testimony to Congress. That is a crime. King is defending the guy. Then King is also defending perjuring yourself under oath to Congress. His attacks on Paul are lame. Paul hasn't committed a crime. He is calling for Clapper to resign. Really he should be filing charges of perjury.

    December 20, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  19. Scott

    I also find it baffling that King defends Clapper and the NSA whose metadata information collection and storage was deemed unconstitutional by our Justice branch of government, becoming a Senator involves an oath of office to defend and uphold the Constitution. But King defends the man who violates the Constitution and telling a Senator who is defending the Constitution he should be ashamed of himself for it. I think King needs to consider whose side he is really on here.

    December 20, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  20. brian

    CNN doesn't publish anything if you mention anything about King picking on easy targets and not apply the same standards to others who lie to congress and the people, lerner, holder, sebelius, and B.O. your comment won't be posted. I just want you the moderator to know that when people stop coming here and use social media, you guys will be totally irrelevant.
    Here is a hint to stay in business – you report it, we decide. don't decide for us and don't try to shape opinion.

    December 20, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. BenFranklin

    King and his ideas are just as out of touch and outdated as his ridiculous eraser head bouffant.

    December 20, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. Kenneth Geller

    Mr. Clapper is the criminal! As time goes on and we are learning more about our "Big Brother" gov't, I am seeing Mr Snowden in a better light.

    December 20, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  23. les bingle

    "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.

    Only because he wasn't caught lying until now, who's to say how many freakin lies he has told under oath, like the rest of our lying politicians. Don't believe a word any of them say under oath. Just because they ARE under oath they think you WILL believe them.

    December 20, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  24. eron dix

    please correct me if I'm wrong we put our faith in our government to represent us as honest passionate ppl,and when they get called out for not doing that we need to apologize for catching them lying?

    December 20, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Rand Paul isn't one to talk. He's a repeat offender when it comes to plagiarism. During the shtdown, Paulwas caught on an open microphone with Mitch McConnell coordinating their false talking points, AND inventing new ones. "What about saying this?" KIng's words are too polite to accurately Sen. Paul's political games.

    December 20, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
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