(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.
Rep. Peter King has it backwards, I think.
King rips Rand a new one. I like it.
Peter King just ruined his chances at a Republican primary run. What a clown.
Both of these guys are slime. Edward Snowden is *not* a traitor. He exposed something the American people should know. You can't complain about big government, then assault a man's character for exposing just what people should be afraid of big government for. It's called hypocrisy. It is unfortunate that this word does not carry more weight in our dysfunctional society.
Rand Paul is a total idiot. How he ever got elected is beyond me. Every time he opens his mouth, garbage comes out
clapper is a traitor.
Holder is really one to talk about lying under oath. Fast and Furious anyone??
One Fed calling another Fed disgraceful is a generalized joke for the disgrace that all of WASH-DC has become under Obama!!!
Was it a classified or public hearing? Why should one believe him anyway? He is in charge of the largest disinformation agency in the world!
And Rep. King makes no criticism of the fact that Clapper lied to congress and the american people? I guess in Washington it's become completely acceptable to lie, cheat and steal – what's unacceptable is calling someone out on it.
Let the slamming of the Paul's begin. Wouldn't want their common sensical middle-of-the-road policies get any traction and exposure before the next election.
Watching the Republicans self-destruct is sad, but I predicted this in 2009.
Clapper should be fired for lying to congress. And Snowden is more of a patriot and a hero than righteous Peter King could ever be. I don't like Rand Paul but he was right on.
Paul is no more than a loud-mouthed member of a peanut gallery. Snowden is a traitor selling himself out for less and less every damn day. a fact that should be obvious to just about everybody about now
So Clapper flat out lies to the American people and Paul calls him on it and somehow Paul is the "disgrace"? King is the one who needs to resign. What a nut job!
The full on revolt is on. Grab the popcorn folks, it's gonna get messy.
Rep. King is right!!! General Clapper is an American hero!!! He works around the clock to protect Americans from attack. Rand Paul is a sad little man with no concern for the threat faced in the big cities... He should crawl back under his rock and let the Real men in govt. protect Americans and prevent attacks...
Rand is just another, in a long line of Conservative loud mouth whack jobs.
Paul is the patriot. King is the traitor.
Thank you Edward Snowden.
Director James Clapper should resign for lying to Congress, and Representative King should resign for his disregard for the truth!
How about Peter King , Rand Paul and every other politician get the heck out of Washington. They all suck!
Fact check: When a person blatantly lies to Congress, that person or persons are traitors. The one who exposes the liar(s) would be a Patriot.
Is the NSA some kind of blackmail racket? Would they tell you if it were?
The only thing that Rand Paul got wrong is thinking that the NSA could ever be reformed and then trusted to stay out of American's communications. When they want to do something illegal or questionable, they classify it top secret, do it anyway, and lie and say they don't do it. That's exactly the protocol Gen. Clapper followed when he lied to congress, ringing his hands and fidgeted constantly because he knew he was disgracing himself, his government, and the United States of America with his lying mouth. He knew Americans were being spied on in multiple modes and in vast numbers when he said hat he knew of no such activity. The fact that he's a general or lying for an acceptable reason (he saw not) does not excuse him. As a result all Americans know we can never believe anyone in the federal government and that every form of communication we have is monitored 24/7 for content, and probably stored indefinitely.
Rand Paul owes no such apology. But general clapper owes his resignation and prosecution for contempt and lying. As for the comparison between gen. Clapper and Snowder, who told the truth and who lied?
King is correct. Paul should never have questioned the DNI. Besides, Snowden never went to Congress before spreading all of this all over the world. That is the major difference that Paul fails to grasp.