Tuesday on CNN’s “Wolf,” while discussing leaks about the unverified dossier on President-elect Donald Trump and Russia and leaks about the intelligence briefing received by the president-elect, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) doubled down on a claim he made last week suggesting jail time for the parties behind the leak.
Partial transcript as follows:
PAUL: I think it’s unseemly that people in our intelligence community, the CIA director, is out there giving press conferences, criticizing the incoming president — I think that’s inexcusable and I would not have anybody in the CIA that’s publicly criticizing the president. It’s not their job, it’s not their role and it’s frankly, unseemly, and it takes away from the credibility. Look, the intelligence community has had a great loss of credibility in the last couple of years. James Clapper came to the Senate and lied under oath. Now we have the head of the CIA publicly criticizing the incoming president. I think that’s not the role of the CIA. The CIA should be in the background trying to protect our country and not out there trying to score political points. I think it’s a terrible and tragic day, and it hurts all of our intelligence gathering and their credibility to have the head of the CIA out there doing this.
BLITZER: But Senator, when Donald Trump twice compares elements in the U.S. intelligence community at the CIA as behaving as if they were in Nazi Germany, doesn’t the CIA director have the right to defend the men and women in the intelligence community?
PAUL: I think it’s very important that private information that’s discussed in private intelligence briefings be private. Classified information should not be leaked to the press. I don’t know who did this, but I can tell you in all likelihood, it wasn’t a Republican. It wasn’t Donald Trump. It wasn’t his people. So you have a couple of choices. This was either leaked to networks and other organizations by intelligence officials or by Democrats that are part of the elite eight that get these briefings. There’s only a few people who could have leaked this information. The reason why this is important is that you don’t want public officials who are being blackmailed to be afraid to go to the FBI and say here’s this information. If a public official takes private information that you are being blackmailed with to the FBI and then it leaks into the public domain, that is inexcusable, and really somebody should go to jail and we have not talked about this enough. A leak like that is so significant if it came from the intelligence community, they should go to jail. If it came from the Obama administration, they should go to jail. You cannot allow the leaking of classified documents, particularly whens it goes to someone’s character So I think this is a tragedy and Donald Trump is right to be mad.
BLITZER: But you agree with Donald Trump that the CIA is like Nazi Germany?
PAUL: I don’t know who leaked this. I’m telling you what my position is—that it’s inexcusable, and someone should be prosecuted for the leaks.
BLITZER But you disagree with him making a comparison to Nazi Germany?
PAUL: I can only do my — I can only vouch for what I’m for and for my statements. I would spend too much time if I had to defend everybody else’s statements, but I would say my position is that it’s inexcusable and someone should be prosecuted, and it’s not just about this instance. It’s about how we move forward as a country. Are we going to make it so public officials are not going to report blackmail because they’re afraid that either the FBI or the CIA is going to leak this to the press? I don’t know if they did it, but it was either them or President Obama’s administration or lead Democrats in Congress. It’s a very narrow window. There were about ten people aware of this briefing and it became public. Now, I’m not blaming the news for reporting it. What I’m blaming is the government officials who leaked this broke the law and they ought to be prosecuted.
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