Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s “lying” to Congress about the scope of government surveillance did more damage than fugitive contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said Wednesday.
“I find that really, that Clapper lying to Congress is probably more injurious to our intelligence capabilities than anything Snowden did because Clapper has damaged the credibility of the entire intelligence apparatus, and I’m not sure what to believe anymore when it comes to Congress,” Paul said on CNN’s “The Situation Room.”
In March, Clapper told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the NSA does not collect intelligence on Americans in bulk, at least “not wittingly.” The intelligence director later apologized in writing and said that characterization was “clearly erroneous.”
Paul said Snowden should not get off “scot-free” for leaking classified information. But the Kentucky Republican said in light of a district court’s ruling that the NSA’s phone records collection program is likely unconstitutional, he believes Snowden leaked information about a program that was breaking the law.
On the other hand, Paul said, Clapper’s statements amounted to perjury.
“I do think what our government is doing is unconstitutional, and I really think that in order to restore confidence in our intelligence community, I think James Clapper should resign,” he said.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.