(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.
So far, it appears that Mr. Clapper has told some significant lies, and time has proven to show that Mr. Snowden's comments are true. Perhaps Mr. King is the one who has disgraced his office by not actually studying the issues before opening his mouth and making false accusations.
Peter King makes RINO's look good! Time for him to switch parties – he would make a great Demo-Crap!
peter king for president '16. he is one of the few normal people on the hill
king a candidate? that's funny.
I agree he is a disgrace, just not necessarily just for this.
A traitor like Snowden lol
blah blah blah, you are all a disgrace
King needs to zip his lips, he is a disgrace not Rand Paul !
Rep King and Clapper are the traitors. Paul is generally a fool, but he's right about this. Patriots make personal sacrifices to make their country a better place, like Snowden. Rep King and Clapper sacrifice our rights to consolidate their own power and exert control over the American people. Rep King is the next McCarthy, hopefully he exits this world the same way his red scare predecessor did.
Good for King. But he has about as much chance of becoming president at Rand Paul.
Here comes all the political slandering for a position in 2014!!!
This is coming from a guy that actively supported IRA terrorism.
Peter King doesn't know the meaning of the word disgrace. If he did, he'd realize that the real disgrace is that the American government is spying on its own people for only one reason: because it can. Collect all the intel you want overseas. In the US, we don't want to trade our laws for the government's good intentions.
The person who "disgraced" his position/office was the one who lied under oath
Peter king is vile and disgusting. How on Gds green earth is he still in office? How?
For once I agree with Rand Paul. I think he is right on in this assesment.
One of the few times I ever agree with Peter King, if but for different reasons. Yes, Paul Ryan disgraced the office by his shameful stab of the retired military in the back.
Tells it like it is you should try it sometime like the rest of Congress.
You and all the elected people in DC work for me not yourself.
Start acting like adults and get the job done and stop all the he said she said crap.
Mr. King needs to sit down. Americans expect honesty from its public servants, not political bloviation.
When an official like Gen. Clapper is asked about he existence of a top secret program in a public hearing, what options does he have, other than lying? If he confirms that it exists, he blows the entire program. If he refuses to answer, he's effectively confirming that it exists. HE HAS NO OPTION BUT TO LIE in order to live up to his oath to protect and defend the country.
The breach here was committed by Rand Paul. He, and other Senators and Congressmen, know better than to ask about top secret programs in a public forum. Doing so damages the security of our country.
Paul is correct, and Clapper is a drama queen. Power and responsibility to the people.
Republicans are toast and by rigging elections(see the republican primaries) so that the status quo stays in office they are just killing their party in the long run and standing in the way of progress.
I'd say the NSA endangers Americans far more than anything Snowden ever did. Hypocrisy of the highest order.
Peter King is always frothing at the mouth with his monthly overwrought histrionics.
Please escort him to the time-out, nap area where he can calm down. His odd, co-dependence and defense of fallible government agencies shows he is a follower, not and never will be a leader. Presidential aspirations? I sincerely hope not, for all our sakes.
Thank you Senator Paul for being our guardian of civil liberties and calling Clapper what he is, an admitted liar and congressional perjure. His not being charged is demonstration of an ugly evolution of American society and paranoia where some such as Clapper are now above the law. Please stand fast against these injustices and defense industrial chronies like Rep King who wish to achieve their dream of bankrupting America's civil liberty values.
while i have no problem with rand paul being made a mockery well before he attempts to run for presidency, saying he is a disgrace for this reason is just play stupid.