GOP civil war: Congressman goes ballistic on Rand Paul

A Republican congressman is beside himself with rage over Rand Paul's recent comments about the NSA

Topics: Peter King, Rand Paul, Edward Snowden, James Clapper, NSA, ,

GOP civil war: Congressman goes ballistic on Rand PaulRand Paul (Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed)

It may be the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean the GOP’s civil war is stopping any time soon.

Appearing on CNN’s “The Situation Room” on Thursday, Republican Rep. Peter King — a vocal defender of the post-9/11 national security state — laid into fellow Republican Rand Paul for his recent criticism of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, whom Paul compared unfavorably to Edward Snowden.

“For Sen. Paul to compare that patriot, Gen. Clapper, with someone like Snowden, who is a traitor, who has put American lives at risk — Sen. Paul should be ashamed of himself,” King railed. ”It’s an absolute disgrace. He disgraced his office and he owes Gen. Clapper an apology immediately.”

Earlier in the week, Paul had said that Clapper’s testimony before Congress, during which the general lied about the NSA’s domestic spying activities, were “probably more injurious to our intelligent capabilities than anything Snowden did.” Paul reasoned that Clapper’s dishonesty shook confidence in the U.S. intelligence community’s forthrightness with the American people. “I’m not sure what to believe anymore when it comes to Congress,” Paul added, before recommending Clapper resign.

But King, who has quarreled with Rand Paul previously, was having none of it. “These are people who are apologizing for America,” King said of Paul. “To me, that is not the Republican tradition, that is not the tradition of Ronald Reagan. It’s the tradition of Charles Lindbergh and the radical left-wing Democrats of the 1960s.”

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on politics. Follow him on Twitter at @eliasisquith, and email him at

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