Rep. Peter King's angry criticism of Sen. Rand Paul over Paul's plan to sue the National Security Agency was a misguided and unnecessary personal attack, former Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan says.
"One of the things that we need to do here is we need to stop making this personal," Hoekstra told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"Peter King's a good friend of mine. We were classmates. We served on the Intelligence Committee together. But I'd argue, don't make this about Rand Paul. Make this about the program."
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On Monday, King, a New York Republican, appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and accused Paul of creating "hysteria" with his pursuit of a class-action suit to stop Americans' phone records from being mined by the NSA.
"He is resorting to fear, he's appealing to the lowest common denominator. And I find that very offensive," King said, noting that NSA surveillance had stopped a New York City subway attack planned by Najibullah Zazi.
"The fact is there would have been hundreds, if not thousands, of New Yorkers killed, and Rand Paul just ignores that. So, I'm saying, if we listen to him, an attack like Zazi's could have been successful, hundreds if not thousands of people would be dead, and what would Rand Paul say then?"
Hoekstra told Malzberg there has been "no evidence at all pointing to the NSA infringing on the civil liberties of Americans."
"This program was done with the full knowledge of Congress, of the president, the executive branch, and the courts," Hoekstra said Tuesday.
"I believe that, ultimately, this class-action lawsuit will fail and that the program will be validated as being absolutely essential, as part of the package that keeps America safe, and does not infringe on American civil liberties.
"But don't make this personal. This is not personal. This is about a technical capability, and stay away from the personal attacks."
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