During an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Monday, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., criticized fellow Republican Rand Paul for Paul's plans to bring a class action lawsuit against the Obama administration for its overseeing of the NSA's data collection program.
King, chairmain of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, accused Sen. Paul of creating “hysteria,” and stated that the NSA has not abused its authority.
“I strongly support what the NSA is doing,” King said. “We can have honest differences about what their policies are, but what Rand Paul is creating is hysteria.
“When Rand Paul is comparing General Clapper to [Edward] Snowden, saying Clapper belongs in jail with Snowden, talking about all phone calls are being listened to, create this paranoia among Americans that the NSA is spying on everyone, the fact is he has not been able to cite one abuse by the NSA.”
In an interview on Fox News on Friday, Paul stated that it would be “enlightening” for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to “share a prison cell” with Snowden as “the law has to be applied equally.”
Clapper has been accused of lying to Congress due to statements he made during a Senate hearing in March. Clapper was asked by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., if the NSA collects electronic data on "millions or hundreds of millions of Americans." Clapper told Wyden that the agency does not "wittingly" do so, which is contradicted by Snowden's revelations.
King, on Monday, further accused Paul of “scare-mongering.”
“He’s playing on some sort of scare-mongering isolationism, and rather than using intelligent arguments as people could well do, he’s resorting to fear. He’s appealing to the lowest common denominator, and I find that very offensive,” King said.
King has been a vocal supporter of the NSA, going so far as to call for the agency to monitor members of Congress.
“I think members of Congress should be treated the same as everyone else,” King told Fox News on Sunday. “If a member of Congress is talking to an Al Qaeda leader in Iraq or Afghanistan, why should that member of Congress be any different from any person on the street?”
Paul first announced plans for a class-action lawsuit representing cell phone customers of Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint Nextel against the NSA this past summer, shortly after the revelations of the NSA program were made public.
During the Fox News interview on Friday, Paul announced that he will be filing the suit soon, saying that his primary goal is to protect the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.
“We want them to protect the Fourth Amendment,” Paul said. “We want them to protect the right to privacy. We want them to understand that we’re not willing to trade our liberty for security. We think we can have security and we can defend against terrorism but that doesn’t mean every individual American has to give up their privacy. We think we can have both. But we are very upset that this president doesn’t seem to be too concerned with our right to privacy.”