December 19th, 2013
08:56 PM ET
10 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. Bob Cozzi

    Rep. Peter King has it backwards, I think.

    December 19, 2013 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  2. KC Yankee

    King rips Rand a new one. I like it.

    December 19, 2013 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  3. Justin

    Peter King just ruined his chances at a Republican primary run. What a clown.

    December 19, 2013 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  4. Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

    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.

    December 19, 2013 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  5. dick delson

    Rand Paul is a total idiot. How he ever got elected is beyond me. Every time he opens his mouth, garbage comes out

    December 19, 2013 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  6. f

    clapper is a traitor.

    December 19, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  7. GK

    Holder is really one to talk about lying under oath. Fast and Furious anyone??

    December 19, 2013 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  8. nuclear mike

    One Fed calling another Fed disgraceful is a generalized joke for the disgrace that all of WASH-DC has become under Obama!!!

    December 19, 2013 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  9. Doug

    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!

    December 19, 2013 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  10. West

    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.

    December 19, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  11. Tyler

    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.

    December 19, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  12. Jack

    Watching the Republicans self-destruct is sad, but I predicted this in 2009.

    December 19, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  13. Raven

    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.

    December 19, 2013 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  14. Maggie

    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

    December 19, 2013 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  15. Deathstalker74

    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!

    December 19, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  16. Mike from CO

    The full on revolt is on. Grab the popcorn folks, it's gonna get messy.

    December 19, 2013 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  17. Joe Brunner

    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...

    December 19, 2013 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  18. Steve S

    Rand is just another, in a long line of Conservative loud mouth whack jobs.

    December 19, 2013 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  19. SciGuy

    Paul is the patriot. King is the traitor.

    December 19, 2013 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  20. Matt

    Thank you Edward Snowden.

    December 19, 2013 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  21. James Van Riper

    Director James Clapper should resign for lying to Congress, and Representative King should resign for his disregard for the truth!

    December 19, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    How about Peter King , Rand Paul and every other politician get the heck out of Washington. They all suck!

    December 19, 2013 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  23. Joe

    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?

    December 19, 2013 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  24. don davis

    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?

    December 19, 2013 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  25. S. B. Stein

    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.

    December 19, 2013 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
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