June 18th, 2013
05:12 PM ET
10 years ago

Rand Paul: James Clapper was lying

(CNN) – President Barack Obama's director of national intelligence was flat-out lying when he told lawmakers in March the government wasn't collecting data on millions of Americans, Sen. Rand Paul asserted Tuesday.

The Kentucky Republican suggested intelligence chief James Clapper had lost all credibility in the wake of intelligence leaks showing information on phone calls and internet usage being collected by the National Security Agency,

"The director of national intelligence, in March, did directly lie to Congress, which is against the law," Paul told CNN national political correspondent Jim Acosta on "The Situation Room."

"He said they were not collecting any data on American citizens, and it turns out they're collecting millions of data on phone calls every day," Paul continued. "So it was a lie. What I'm saying is that by lying to Congress, which is against the law, he severely damaged the credibility of the entire intelligence community."

In March, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, asked Clapper whether the NSA collects "any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans."

"No sir," Clapper responded, adding later: "It does not. Not wittingly."

Disclosures of top secret surveillance programs this month showed the government issuing requests to telecommunication firms for millions of phone call records, though collecting actual content of those phone calls requires further authorization.

Paul questioned Clapper's ability to continue in his post Tuesday, saying he couldn't "imagine how he would regain his credibility, when you lie."

The senator – who has said he's considering a run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination – added that Clapper wouldn't have a place in his own White House.

"He would not work in my administration," Paul said. "We have to be able to trust our officials. When you do this – have the ability to completely destroy people's lives, and the ability to actually kill people overseas – I would think you really have to have our utmost trust. And I think he's lost our trust by lying to us."

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: James Clapper • NSA • Rand Paul
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. wmontanye

    What??? He said they were not collecting any data on American citizens, and it turns out they're collecting millions of data on phone calls every day. Phone calls are not people.. idiot.. Heaven forbid he ever get in the White House...

    June 18, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  2. S alcornName

    Love Rand Paul finally someone in DC with patriotism and common sense!

    June 18, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    Isn't that a prerequisite for being a Democrat in the first place????? It certainly seems to be.

    June 18, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  4. Larry L

    It appears Rand Paul will assume the same role as his father – that of collecting the "conspiracy vote" and undermining the political power of the Republican Party. The crazies are competitive in the primary – since Republicans tend to offer only radicals in their Clown Car of Politics. But it takes a moderate with actual solutions to win the General election.

    June 18, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  5. Deborah L

    Frankly all you have to do is watch some of the You tube videos to know what is going on in the US. Facebook and all the major companies have all ready been mentioned in things that most likely can be done to spy on you. Facebook alone ties a large part of your friends and family together, they wouldn't have much trouble rounding up your friends and buddies, Christians, Tea Party alliance, Jews, Indians, or whatever they decide to outlaw in the future. Facebook has already been instrumental in criminals being captured, or persons being fired for saying or doing something against a persons company job. With Prism they will be able to ferret out the most benign comment.

    June 18, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  6. Mark

    I am with Paul on all of it. The NSA, EPA, IRS, NLRB. All of them are corrupt. Just think, if the NSA digs into the Supreme Court, they can find dirt on anyone, same with Congress, the man at the helm can control the outcome of anything. Way to much power.

    June 18, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  7. ghost

    Like I said before, when the GOP starts screaming about what someone else is doing, they are doing. Checking it out: they call people liars, they are proven LIARS. They say the POTUS is hurting this country, they are hurting this country. Do I need to go any further. Open your eyes and you will start to see it for yourself. Come on 2014 & 2016.

    June 18, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  8. Evergreen

    He is lying because Rand Paul says so. We were told that this system kept us save when Bush was in office so why would the current POTUS be expected to dismantle it.

    June 18, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  9. tthomp9737

    Republicans, Democrats, liars, hypocrites, liberals, conservatives, blah blah blah all crooks and liars.... Paul is the only guy I trust to tell the truth and protect the rights of American citizens.

    June 18, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  10. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    Bland Paul ,the gop garbage teaparty loser should be thrown in gitmo along with Cruz and bachmann and lee and Rubio as enemies of the state .

    June 18, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  11. Steve Hamilton

    Rand Paul is delusional for believing he has any kind of chance running for president, let alone winning. I'm old enough to have seen Senator Joseph McCarty in action, before he was impeached and censured by the Senate, which forced him to retire. McCarthy used to call people liars too, along with his many slurs and innuendos. My take on this brouhaha is that Paul asked one (not very well articulated) question, and Clapper answered the question as he understood it. That does not make Mr. Clapper a liar, it makes Paul a sloppy asker of questions.

    June 18, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  12. Steveo

    @Marie MD
    I have to say this . . . . the WH has a clapper and the rethugs have a crapo. Which one would you rather have? Lights out or a throne sitter?
    That is your argument?

    June 18, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  13. Richard in Houston

    There times when I like rand paul and then there are there times when he is bonkers. This is a bonkers situation. I aplaud clapper for doing what I would expect someone in his position to do. Not reveal information on a legal, judge approve d operation.

    June 18, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  14. clifton

    Why is everybody so bent on being pro dem or repub and always fighting and yet doing nothing for our country?

    June 18, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  15. patriot

    Its about time someone called this admin out like Paul is doing!

    June 18, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  16. patriot

    My my all I see is hatred here. I guess liberals have cornered the market on that. Try some FACTS morons!

    June 18, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  17. rs

    EVIDENCE MR. PAUL, EVIDENCE! Provide your source or shut up. America is tired of your lies and your fake conspiracies.

    June 18, 2013 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  18. rs

    Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)
    OF course Clapper lied. That's common knowledge that everyone knows already except the insane liberals."
    Prove it!
    As usual, just more lies from the Right when the truth doesn't quite go their way.

    June 18, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  19. Verax

    Holy crap guys, don't all drink the Kool-Aid at once!

    Judging by the average intelligence of these comments here, I'm willing to bet you sheeple are the reason we're inching closer and closer to a police state. I'm ashamed to call you Americans... those who would trade liberties for security deserve neither and lose both!

    June 18, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  20. Data Driven

    I am SO, SO sick of Rand Paul, and it's not even 2014 yet.

    Hey Rand, you dingbat: save some of it for the 5th inning. It's the bottom of the 1st and you're already running out of gas. And you're being unsurpassingly tiresome while you're doing it. Just ... shut up for awhile. You're getting on my nerves. Seriously, dude.

    June 18, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  21. Norma Vessels

    As a Kentuckian, I have to say, Rand Paul is one of the most embarrassing examples of what a Senator should not be, what a Senator should not do. Straighten up your own mouth, Senator, before you accuse anyone else of lying.

    June 18, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  22. Donnie

    If he broke the law as you say Why don't you prosecute him ?

    June 18, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  23. hopsing

    @lolo Rand's parents live in TX, one family prepared to stand up against the governments actions. Where does Rand lie?

    Rand does not want to return to pre-civil rights 1960 he just disagrees with one part of it you are right he believes if you own a cafe and decide you want to serve only to certain people that is your right, but it is extremely dumb business you would cut out not only that portion that you decide too but also people that are offended by that practice. I am sure in his clinic as his father did Ron Paul has delivered over 5000 babies and he even did volunteer service at a free clinic in a predominately minority area Rand would not discriminate in his practice. They do not believe in discrimination in public settings such as schools or community centers etc.

    How many unarmed people are killed each year in the U.S. by law officers much more than are killed by terrorist Why should we give our rights up because of terrorist when one our government has no problem dropping a missle from a drone especially by the hideos signature strike program and second should we lose or sucede more of our rights to the government because of police brutality or should police brutality be increased to fight crime

    June 18, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  24. Cindy

    It's alarming that people are actually ok with our government lying and collecting information on us without a warrant. Are people really that dedicated to their party that they cannot see the writing on the wall?

    Rand Paul has more intelligence and integrity then all of Washington put together but most cant see that because it boils down to a lack of common sense.

    June 18, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  25. Mike Texoma

    We had this debate when the Bush administration brought the Patriot Act to Congress after 9/11. We recently had it again when parts of the Patriot Act, including the ones in question here, came up for renewal. Congress has approved this twice. Rand Paul's attack on President Obama for using practices and procedures which Congress has endorsed on two occasions is hypocritical – pure political strategy.

    We as Americans need to be vigilant in this matter. Mr. Paul, however, is not raising it for the good of America. He is raising it for the good of Rand Paul, as he perceives his own good.

    June 18, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
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