Republican Sen. Rand Paul called on President Obama to oust his embattled Director of National Intelligence on Tuesday, insisting that James Clapper told a “bald-faced lie” when he assured the Senate the administration was not collecting data on millions of Americans.
Appearing on Fox News' “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren,” the Kentuckian also said that President Barack Obama appears to be “losing the moral authority to lead the nation” based on the plethora of scandals facing his administration.
“The president is really hurting in a big way right now,” said Paul. “We had the IRS scandal. Then he targeted Fox reporters and AP reporters, the Benghazi investigation — no one was fired — and now we have this snooping where his director of national intelligence looks at the Senate and says, ‘I’m not keeping or collecting any Americans’ information.”
Clapper was testifying at a March Senate hearing in which he was asked whether the NSA collects any type of data on millions — or hundreds of millions — of Americans.
In recent days Clapper described his earlier response as “the most truthful or least untruthful manner” he could have answered the question.
Paul said he does not believe that Clapper will be able to bridge his credibility gap with lawmakers.
“I don’t know how he can regain his credibility when he lied outright to Congress,” said Paul, who cautioned that Americans should not be quick to judge NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who called national attention to NSA’s secret surveillance of phone calls and emails.
Paul had previously said that in some ways Snowden performed a “noble gesture,” but he reserved judgment as to whether the 29-year-old should be tracked down and brought to justice or honored for his act of civil disobedience.
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