(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.
Thanks for standing up for Americans, Rep Paul.
Peter King: Rand Paul 'disgraced' his office
It wouldn't be the first – or last – time that has happened.
King is delusional if he thinks he can successfully mount a Presidential campaign.
I don't get it. Clapper LIED to Congress and Rand should apologize to HIM?
It's grand standing by the RNC because they sat on Bush's lap for 8 years and now they Grill Obama's folks. The dems are the same way, what i love are the idiots on these boards who just repeat the BS they listen to on talk radio. Then you also have the folks on the Heritage pay roll and we know Fox makes their people troll message boards lol
Remember, when Peter King talks about terrorism, he only investigates terrorists that he doesn't like. Peter King supported a terrorist group in the past.
Our govt needs a statesman. Appeasment breeds weakness which leads too our current division in both parties. Remember the mistakes of chamberlen and halifax. In the begining Churchill fought alone against hitler.
I am Rand Paul agnostic, but in this case he is right. James Clapper lied to Congress and therefore to the American people. The senator has nothing to apologize for.
Yes, CNN... Smear Paul for standing against your pro-big government political agenda. Such a disgrace, when people actually stand for freedom rather than the big brother state you would prefer to see us become.
Why is Paul so anti-military? Did he fail a physical or something and can't get over it all these years later?
Rand for President! The new, conscientious wing of the Republican Party.
"clearly erroneous" answer = lie
Speaking as a (soon to be ex- Republican, Rep. King is a disgrace.
Rant Paul is rapidly becoming the male version of the Quitta: Says uninformed, inflammatory things to get his name in the news.
Nothing surprises my coming out of Texas
Wait a second. There is actually a sane Republican Congressman out there. You've got to be kidding!
Well .... when you allow Generals and Senators to lie to We the People, We the People are NOT represented ....
And if a Senator does not understand that, he has IMPEACHED himself.
In my book, Snowden took it upon himself to hurt this country, not save it from surveillance. It was not his decision to make. He took a job with the intention of revealing highly secret facts about the NSA and he broke a vow to keep silent about it. What's worse is that Snowden did not offer any information that was new. Practically everything he disclosed had already been publically discussed on television, except of course, the part about spying on our allies. I, myself, saw several programs a few years before Snowden ever opened his mouth. It was all out there to be known...if anybody had been listening. Snowden was simply being vindictive when he brought to light our surveillance of our allies...he cannot make the claim that his intention was to save America. All countries spy on each other...that's a fact.! I hope we never let this traitor back in here except to try him for his actions.
Is this is a joke? I know somewhere they can shove that apology.
Did he lie or just reveal a truth that people don't want to hear?
So Rand wants to hang Clapper for trying to keep a secret he was bound by the oath of his post to keep but says nothing about rep Issa who has been leaking secrets as if it was a contest. The Tea Party has no clothes or morals but at least they are consistent.
Who is the bigger traitor, the guy who covers up a classified program or the guy who demands a classified program be made public? My money is on the second guy, who gets to pick what he calls the first guy: a liar if he doesn't or a traitor if he does. Politicians are so good at playing heads I win, tails you lose for a nice easy living.
"Truth is treason in the empire of lies." -Ron Paul
GOP are in trouble
Rand Paul has zero chance of becoming president in 2016. He should hang it up.
Rep. King does not place a high value on personal liberties such as freedom of speech. His views place the welfare and operation of the gov. far above the welfare of the people. He seems willing to side with those who would trample the Bill of Rights in order to prevent another attack. Taking away or threatening to take away liberty to prevent terrorism is throwing the baby out with the bath water.