- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 18, 2013

Rep. Peter King accused fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul of slandering “good patriotic Americans” who work for the NSA and misleading the American people.

“I totally disagree with what Senator Rand Paul said,” Mr. King said on “Fox News Sunday.” “That was just a grab bag of misinformation and distortion coming from him.”

Mr. King criticized the Kentucky Republican’s efforts to restrict NSA snooping amid accusations the agency is collecting private data on millions of Americans, the Daily Caller reported.

“Take Rand Paul’s own numbers,” “He says there’s billions of phone calls being collected. It’s not even true, but let’s assume he’s being right for once — billions of phone calls being collected. You juxtapose that with 2,800 violations, which were self-reported by the NSA, which are not violating anybody’s rights. You’re talking about 1,900 being foreigners, and when they came to the U.S., their foreign mobile phone wasn’t immediately transferred over the way they were supposed to be. No Americans rights were violated with that. The others were records which were kept more than five years by accident, self-reported by the NSA.”

The New York congressman argued that labeling the leaked information a “scandal” was irresponsible.

“To me, a scandal is when a government agency is somehow using information to hurt people or go after them,” Mr. King said. “Whatever mistakes were made were inadvertent. And if you have a 99.99 percent batting average, that’s better than most media people do, most politicians do.

“And I have a tremendous respect for Gen. [Keith] Alexander and the NSA,” he said. “And this whole tone of snooping and spying that we use — I think it’s horrible. It’s a distortion, a smear and a slander of good patriotic Americans.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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