December 19th, 2013
08:56 PM ET
9 years 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. Scott

    The NSA metadata collection and storage was deemed unconstitutional by a court. King as a Senator swore an oath to defend and uphold the US Constitution. So he is defending Clapper who lied to Congress, whose NSA violated the Constitution, and attacks Rand Paul, who is defending the Constitution and telling him he should be ashamed of himself for it? Kind doesn't seem to realize how out of control the Government has become. King is on the wrong side of this, the wrong side of history.

    December 20, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. Ken

    The disgrace is the NSA director and King. Unconstitutional spying and lying about it should cause people to be dragged out and be spit on by our legislators and public. The last thing they should get is praise from anyone in office for illegal actions.

    King is part of the problem and is lower than a worm when compared to Paul.

    December 20, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. oldleftcoastdude

    Well, Paul spoke the truth. Clapper did lie and was caught red handed when Snowden released all those documents. Peter King is as big a liar, or bigger than, Clapper and should just keep his big mouth shut.

    December 20, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  4. sly

    Paul is a traitor who should be hung by his neck from a tree. Pure, simple. Most TeaBillie's should meet the same fate. Eliminate these Nazi's – they are our enemy. These are not Americans.

    December 20, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. john

    King is the one who is a disgrace.

    December 20, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  6. fivestaranononymous

    I enjoy reading the comments here and seeing that people out there are way smarter than the politicians would like. It is "We the people" who do not want to be spied on – but are being spied on continuously. Rand Paul does not agree with that and I have the highest respect for the man. He truly represents "Us – the people", respects our constitution and rights of every American. We should send politicians home who forget that they represent "Us – the people".

    December 20, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. IpseCogita

    Politicians always seem to think that politicians they disagree with are disgracing their office.

    December 20, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. Thomas

    Why 99% of people don't agree with Rand here is confusing to me. Clapper lied and violated the constitution. It is black and white. The guy should get fired, the government should apologize and say "we are going to stop all access of American records without getting a warrant". It's really that simple.

    If we don't stop it now, then government will continue to use this huge database not for protecting us, but for leveraging what they want from us. As a database expert, I know what you can do and protecting us from terrorism is the last thing they are doing spying on americans.

    December 20, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  9. John/kc

    I very rarely agree with anything coming from Rand Paul, but in this case, Clapper obviously lied to congress.

    December 20, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  10. ru serious

    Its about time that the mainstream GOP started standing up to the Tea Party. They cannot win National elections until they rid themselves of this plague.

    December 20, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  11. John Bergstrom

    This could be interesting – I think Paul is right on this one – now I wonder if he would like to go back through history and condemn all the other liars and spiers who have harmed our country so much over the years – J Edgar Hoover for sure, Johnson about the war, Nixon and his plumbers, Reagan, with Ollie North and the rest of the Iran Contra gang – and of course George W Bush and all his lying bunch (I'm just thinking of the ones who did really significant harm) – it's a pretty long shameful list. Seriously, Paul might be just crazy enough to take a principled stand in favor of public honesty, even if it offends the conventional right wing. Let's see.

    December 20, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. EDDIE

    Funny bush started all this with the NSA and nobody had a problem with it.Then snowden leaks what everyone knew or should have known about because it was public when bush started it. And now they want to blame the black president. Typical republicans talking out of both sides of their mouth. Straight from the double standard party. Instead of gop it should read DSP

    December 20, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  13. J-Man

    Who is this Rep King? Clearly he has become part of the problem in Washington. When he thinks it is okay for people to lie to Congress it it time for him to go. When he calls out another Republican for speaking up about it, it is past time for him to go. No more business as usual in Washington. Looks like Rep King is on Obama's Christmas list after all.

    December 20, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  14. James

    That's rich coming from IRA Terrorist fundraiser Peter King.

    December 20, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. RW0r1d

    So Clapper justified lying by saying that the program was still classified when he testified to Congress (the government entity charged with oversight of the NSA)? Sounds like Clapper has a little difficulty understanding what oversight means and lacks the balls to tell the full Congress that as a classified program he can divulge only to a closed session of the Intel committee.

    December 20, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  16. dinkydow

    I know lying to Congress seems to be the "in" thing these days but, Clapper did in fact, willingly lie to Congress. There must be consequences when someone lies under oath or why even ask the questions in the first place?

    December 20, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. Further Divisions

    Well it sure sounds like good ol' Republican bickering as we edge closer to 2016 and one is trying to outdo the other as the possible Republican presidential nominee. Of course, they also forget Chris Christie may also be on board. But the bottom line is that Republicans need to give it up. People no longer believe in them and with things like this going on it leaves a greater bad taste in many a mouth about them and their party. The Republicans can no longer serve us efficiently as they are all about Cuts and Removing what the people of this country have worked so hard for all of their life that they deserve to receive in their golden years. They are no longer serving the public good thus, they should all be removed from office posthaste!

    December 20, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. bearitstrong

    Republican Sen. Rand Paul is a great loose cannon for the GOP.

    December 20, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  19. ThomasE

    King should be fired for lying. He isn't even a real republican. Didn't King promise to uphold the great U.S. Constitution?

    December 20, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  20. Shane

    I like how part of King's defense of Clapper lying was that the program being asked about, at the time, was still classified... As if that should then grant it whatever leeway it wants to do whatever it wants without anyone checking it out to make sure it's constitutional.

    King needs to realize that the program was illegal and not supported by the constitution, being classified doesn't excuse that.

    December 20, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  21. tarran

    J-Man asks "Who is this Rep King?"

    He was a big bagman for the Provisional Irish Republican Army, and said that the civilians that died in their bombing campaign were "regrettable" collateral damage.

    Thus, King is probably the biggest expert on providing material support for terrorism in the U.S. legislature.

    December 20, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  22. ThomasE

    King is the one who should be fired for lying. He isn't even a real republican. Didn't he swear to uphold the great U.S. Constitution? Are not our young soldiers dying to protect freedom and liberty which are being threatened on a constant basis; from our own leaders no less?

    December 20, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  23. Darwin

    The most ANNOYING thing about this phone records and other data collection is the LYING & EXAGGERATION by the NSA and others about how effective it is in preventing terrorism (NOT!) These agencies and their heads tell us that "OVER FIFTY" terrorist plots have been thwarted, yet they admit in secret private conversations with Senators that AT MOST IT IS TWO." This is the classic ploy of intelligence agencies: make the public believe they are incredibily effective so they get even more money. And when the public says PROVE IT, they respond by saying, "Sorry, but that's SECRET"

    December 20, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. voodooidol

    Maybe he's not aware that Snowden is the Patriot and the NSA director is the traitor.

    December 20, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. sftommy

    and his father disgraced his Hippocratic oath,
    apple never does fall too far from the tree

    December 20, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
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