(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.
Sen. Peter King does not have the guts to find the truth. He should resign his position since he is not doing anything good.
Paul, Cruz, Ryan, Rubio, Palin and Christie will all be looking for places to find backers.........the NSA doesn't bother me one bit what they do, but they sure bother paranoid people.
All the teabaggers do is grandstand. They are an insult to intelligence.
Hey, Peter King.....look in the mirror, if you want to see a true disgrace!
No need for Rand Paul, Paul Rand, Randy Paul or whatever his mixed up name is to say he is sorry. We already know how sorry he is:)
In two years Rand Paul will be as inconsequential as Sarah Palin is today. He has not uttered a single public statement that was not calculated to further his ambitions. Both he and Palin have the welfare of the United States at eleven on their top ten lists.
Snowden is a patriot, and he has been exonerated by the Federal courts. Obama should fly to Russia and present him the Congressional Medal of Honor during the Olympic Games, then beg him to return home for a hero's parade. He should also apologize to the entire world for our government's indiscretion. Congress owes every American an apology for the erosion of our rights. A people should not fear their government, the government should fear the people.
James Clapper flat out lied to congress.
So Rand Paul claimed Clapper lied and then Clapper admitted it. Got it.
and we should be concerned about what a RINO has to say? Move on, nothing to see here......
After spending probably more than a billion dollars on the new Bluffdale data mining site, I highly doubt that our leaders will reign in the NSA. Rep. King is dead wrong on his assessment. William Benny and Thomas Drake, some of the highest ranking members of the NSA blew the whistle because they knew the truth. The Stasi could only dream of what our government is doing to its own citizens. Welcome to the surveillance state.
Rand Paul 2016
Look around. Rand has disgraced his office but he's just keeping up with the rest of your party. Need to see what's wrong with the country, look in the mirror. Rand's as empty headed as anyone could be, but he's had mentors that have vacuums between their ears.
I agree that Snowdumb is a traitor. That sucking sound you hear is Paul going after the under 25 vote.
Where's Paul's military service? Oh, there isn't any. Not that it matters to a lot of his target demographic.
I hope this guy runs for President. It will be fun working to have his butt handed to him.
Another tip toe through the tulips escapade?
I guess you could say why single out Clapper when so many in the administration have lied or misled congress or the American people, including Holder, Sebelius, Clinton, Obama and Clapper.
It is pretty sad when a member of Congress decides to praise a member of the administration who just committed perjury and conducted domestic terrorism operations against Americans. And yes, it is terrorism, we now have to fear our government. Instead of calling out Senator Rand, they should be bringing up General Clapper on charges of perjury and then determine exactly what to charge him for concerning spying on Americans. The NSA is not supposed to conduct domestic operations, so he definitely conducted illegal activities. The only question is can he be criminally charged for it.
If all Republicans were like Rep. King... I'd be one too.
Peter King is a likely 2016 presidential candidate?? I don't know what's more disappointing, the fact that he is surrounded by so many "yes-men" who pump him up with this nonsense, or the fact that as a congressman and leader of our country, he is stupid enough to believe it. He fancies himself a national defense expert, but he is just a fool. He will NEVER hold a higher office than the one he has now. Not EVER.
Apologized for the confusion he caused???? What about for the lying???
I am in no way a Tea Partier. However, I expect government officials to tell the truth when testifying under oath or bear the consequences of perjury. King is wrong. Paul is right.
We the people deserve some over-site of our own. Rand Paul is one of the only representatives that really represents the people. When National Security can be used as a catch all to cover up anything, then its not national security, its your security that you are concerned with, not ours.
I agree, an apology needs to be made. No one who is any type of a professional does not make public insults to another professional. If the guy lied, that's not good but look what Congress has been doing nothing but.. Our Congress has made the US look bad because of their petty behavior. There's worse spying and personal data collecting than the NSA. People also give out enough of their own personal information on social media, cell phones, etc. If Congress forces Clapper to resign, then they need to be out the door w/him. Their behavior is more disgusting. They have no place making moral judgements.
King is a disgrace to this country, and an enemy to the rights of its citizens.
Rand Paul is correct. Clapper should resign for lying.