Tags: king | paul | disgrace | clapper

Rep. Peter King: Rand Paul 'Disgraced His Office' With Clapper Attacks

Image: Rep. Peter King: Rand Paul 'Disgraced His Office' With Clapper Attacks

Thursday, 19 Dec 2013 08:20 PM

By Todd Beamon

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New York Rep. Peter King on Thursday ripped into Sen. Rand Paul for his attack on Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, charging that his fellow Republican "disgraced his office — and he owes General Clapper an apology immediately."

"That is absolutely disgraceful to compare General Clapper with a traitor," King, who confirmed to Newsmax in July that he was considering a bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, told Wolf Blitzer on CNN.

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He was referring to Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency subcontractor who leaked information about the government's vast electronic surveillance programs. Paul told Blitzer on Wednesday that Clapper posed a greater threat to the nation's security than Snowden.

"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. "It's an absolute disgrace."

Paul, who represents Kentucky, said in his interview that Clapper's testimony to Congress in March — in which he said that the NSA "not wittingly" collected data on millions of Americans — amounted to "lying."

Clapper later called the statement "clearly erroneous" and apologized to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Paul told Blitzer on Wednesday that Clapper's testimony was "probably more injurious to our intelligence capabilities than anything Snowden did.

"Clapper has damaged the credibility of the entire intelligence apparatus — and I'm not sure what to believe anymore when they come to Congress," Paul said.

In his attack on Paul, King said that Clapper had been put "in an impossible position" in the committee's public session, since the member who posed the question, Democratic Sen. Rob Wyden of Oregon, had obtained more specific information in a classified meeting.

"He knew that General Clapper could not give the full answer because it would let our enemies know what we were doing," King told CNN. "The question was wrong. General Clapper gave the best answer he could."

King, a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, also said that he opposed a letter released on Wednesday by seven House Republicans calling for the Justice Department to begin a criminal investigation of whether Clapper had lied to Congress at the March hearing.

The letter, King said, came from "the isolationist wing of the party," likening it to "radical left-wing Democrats of the 1960s."

"These are people who are apologizing for America," the senator said. "That is not the Republican tradition. That is not the tradition of Ronald Reagan. That is not a Republican position."

King lodged into his rant against Paul as he attacked a report released on Wednesday by a presidential advisory committee that recommended the NSA be limited in how it seizes Americans' telephone and Internet records without court approval.

"This commission is caving in to political correctness," King told Blitzer. "The fact is no Americans have had their rights violated. No American citizens' calls are being listened to unless they're in contact with terrorists. No one's name is on file, no one's address is on file. This is a totally phony issue."

The interview began with King endorsing the bipartisan legislation introduced by 26 senators that would tighten sanctions on Iran if it violates the nuclear deal reached with world powers last month or lets the accord expire without a long term agreement.

The senators, 13 Republicans and Democrats each, defied President Barack Obama in putting forth the sanctions bill and drew a veto threat.

"If Iran is serious about the agreement, they should have no problems with the sanctions," King said. "The sanctions only kick in if they don't comply with the agreement.

"The president should want these sanctions as a weapon to hold over the Iranians," he added. "The president is making a very serious mistake in threatening to veto this bill."

Editor's Note: Seniors Scoop Up Unclaimed $20,500 Checks? (See if You qualify)

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