(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..."
I love it. You can't make this stuff up!!!
Let's see. Snowdon is a traitor for telling the truth to the American people. And clapper is patriot for lying to them. It would be funny if it weren't such a tragic statement of what we've become.
Far from a Rand Paul fan, I think he is a total knucklehead and unfit for office BUT for this situation I have to side with him. Tired of public officials telling us nothing is going on then we find through unofficial channels that we're being snooped on in every way possible. We have 10,000 times the amount of deaths in this country through domestic gun violence than terrorism, but be have to give up our freedoms because of the threat of terrorism but we're can't enact some simple gun purchase background checks that the majority of responsible GUN OWNERS support. smh.
Clapper did lie – period. I'm surprised there's not more indignation.
Um, no, Paul had it right.
So a liar is called a patriot when he's spying on Americans, but the one who calls him out is declared a traitor. Makes perfect sense. Has anyone died because of Snowden?I keep hearing all these "HE PUT THE LIVES OF AMERICANS AT RISK" how? By showing that the government was spying on us? The only lives Snowden risked was his own, and the political lives of those responsible for the spying.
Clapper admitted to giving clearly erroneous testimony to Congress under oath. If Snowden had not released his info, Clapper's deceit would still be undetected.
The only poblem I see is that Clapper is still a free man. King is on the wrong side of this issue.
I stand with you Rand Paul. You owe this Rino nothing. Thanks for being on the side of the people
and why should we care about what he has to say?
Pete King is a loudmouth nobody to anyone outside of New York. He might think he's playing the moderate establishment candidate by attacking Rand Paul, but that's Chris Christie's turf. Given the choice between Christie and King, Wall St. is going to back Christie.
There are Democrats who've said they might consider voting for Christie. King doesn't have any support like that. And by attacking Paul, he can forget about the GOP base.
Peter King is obviously an honest politician, because everyone on Earth knows where the bandwagon is.
Clapper did lie and we all know it now. Nothing wrong with Rand Paul stating the truth.
Peter King, a presidential candidate, bwaahaahaa..Nobody but the author (and perhaps Peter King) are considering him a presidential candidate...
Amen Mr. King. Rand Paul is out of step and out of touch...trying to pave his way to the White House, which he will only see as a guest...ok tpartiers, there's your bait! :-)
The real disgrace is Clapper, who lied to the American people.
Peter King is an authoritarian bigot and an embarrassment to the Republican Party.
It sounds like Senator Paul was saying that he believes General Clappers testimony did more damage to the reputation of the intelligence community than Snowden [which I don't agree with] but not implying that Clapper is a traitor [ as Snowden absolutely is]. So it appears Sen King is doing some early pre-election mud slinging.
As far as Clapper lying about intelligence gathering to a Senate committee.... well that's what you do about top secret programs.
You don't tell your wife, best friend and especially not a Senator or Congressman, as you might as well tell the Washington Post. If anyone asks you if a top secret program exists you lie through your teeth and say not to my knowledge. Your oath to secrecy trumps your oath in testimony.
Clapper lied and Rand Paul called him out. How is that disgracefull? Of course Senator Paul is a disgrace for a plethora of other reasons
Sorry Mr. King, YOU are the disgrace
Peter King is nothing but an Israeli shill.
Of course! You liars stick together don't you Rep. King? (Obviously, he doesn't want government employees to be punished for "perjury" which would land the average person in jail.)
As far as I'm concerned, it is Peter King who should be ashamed, for repeatedly disgracing Americans with his biased racist views.
I am all for open honest transparency in government and that is what Rand Paul stands for – and Ron Paul more so!
Obviously Rep. King doesn't want government employees to be punished for "perjury" which would land the average person in jail. Don't you all just love our two-tiered (rigged) justice system in this country?
Okay, I vote that King, Paul and Clapper all should go as each tells his version of the story. These people don't know the truth when they see it. It's all about politics and survival, whether the next post or the next election. Every American should be sick of this type of behavior. TERM LIMITS is where to start cleaning it up.
We in this country seem to have an auto-immune disease. We can sustain a struggle, however honorable and justified, only so long, then we turn on ourselves and begin to self-destruct. Thus the drone program, the NSA arrangement with several companies to keep communications data searchable in case it needs to be searched, etc. If someone like Snowden or Ellsberg isn't handy to launch the self-cannibalization, congress will do it.