Boehner calls Snowden a traitor; Rand Paul 'reserving judgment'
June 11th, 2013
09:50 AM ET
9 years ago

Boehner calls Snowden a traitor; Rand Paul 'reserving judgment'

(CNN) – Republicans on Capitol Hill offered differing assessments Tuesday of the ex-CIA employee who leaked top secret documents detailing the American government's surveillance activities to the Guardian newspaper.

"He's a traitor," House Speaker John Boehner said bluntly on ABC's "Good Morning America," adding he thought Edward Snowden's leaks had put Americans at risk.

"The president outlined last week that these are important national security programs that help keep Americans safe and give us tools that help fight the terrorist threat we face," Boehner said. "The disclosure of this information puts Americans at risk. It shows our adversaries what our capabilities are. And it's a giant violation of the law."

Boehner's remarks echo the thoughts of Rep. Peter King, a Republican member of the House Homeland Security Committee who said on CNN Monday Snowden was a "defector."

"He knows who our intelligence assets are, who our intelligence agents are around the world, and the fact he has allowed our enemy to know what our sources and methods are is extremely dangerous," the New York Republican said on CNN's "Starting Point." "I think he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I consider him right now to be a defector."

But Boehner and King's fellow Republican, Sen. Rand Paul, was milder in his assessment of Snowden, whose last known location was Hong Kong.

"I think it's a complicated issue. I think when people choose civil disobedience they're at their wit's end and think there's no other choice," Paul said on CBS "This Morning," noting he was working to change the laws that permitted the type of snooping Snowden revealed to the Guardian. Paul said Sunday he was considering suing the federal government over the seizure of phone and internet records.

"I'm reserving judgment on Mr. Snowden, but I think he felt like something like this was so wrong – millions of phone records being looked at," Paul said.

The Kentucky Republican was more measured in his stance than his father, former Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who issued a statement Monday praising the leaker for exposing details of the U.S. surveillance programs.

Referring to Snowden and Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, Ron Paul wrote, "They have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret."

Records show Snowden donated $500 to Ron Paul during the former congressman's bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, and in an interview with the Guardian said he voted for a third-party candidate in last year's contest.

Filed under: John Boehner • NSA • Rand Paul
soundoff (383 Responses)
  1. Agrav8td

    Snowden is a traitor. He didn't do anyone, other than our enemies, any favors by divulging this type of information. I hope they find him, and he deserves whatever happens to him.

    June 11, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. sir

    the guy is a hero... period. we should all help me even if it means civil instability... if this doesn't prompt it then something in americas near future will.. we are watching the collapse of a government people... slowly but surely

    June 11, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. Alex in NJ

    John Boehner and Barack Obama willfully disregarded their oathes to defend the United States Constitution by spying on Americans. Edward Snowden gave up his freedom, a 6 figure cushy job, a beautiful girlfriend and a nice home in Hawaii to defend the Constitution. Who are the real traitors?

    June 11, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. CZ

    Yeah, Snowden is a traitor that has posed serious threats to all the true patriots in Congress.

    June 11, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. Scott

    Damn. I hate having to agree with Boehner on something.

    June 11, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. Jeff

    "Snowden is a hero, he just let all America know just how corrupt this Adminstration is. Boehner is no traitor to this country. The real traitor is Obama and his Gestapo."

    This has been going on for years. That doesn't make it right but it doesn't make it Obama's fault either. Please know your facts before you post, thanks.

    June 11, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. Fair is Fair

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "Skippy" Snowden should be DRONED.
    An American citizen? Without due process? What other part of the Constitution do you want to shred?

    June 11, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Aaron

    Why would I trust a Traitor to tell me who the traitors are?

    June 11, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Here we go

    Here comes the government smear campaign. Traitor, Defector... Terrorist will be next on the list. This guy exposed the government for doing shady stuff and now he is enemy #1. What else does he know, I can tell the government is scared that he will tell all. Wake up people. Your freedoms are being taken away every day. Documents like the "Patriot" act with such inspiring names circumvent the constitution. Take a look at what New Jersey is doing. Trying to pass a law so police can seize and inspect your personal property without a warrant or suspicion. People will comply out of fear of detainment or jail and the government takes more of your freedom.

    June 11, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. TrakerJon

    If anyone is a traitor it's John Boehner that sells out American workers for big business contributions so that they can evade taxes and ship US jobs abroad. Snowden is a hero in my book; a protector of our right to privacy and freedom from government intrusion into our lives as a result of failed foreign policy initiatives and actions since WWII.

    June 11, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. bob baden

    Prosecute away-RIGHT AFTER CARL ROVE is brought up on charges. Valarie Flame was thrown on the fire because our then Idiot President was cranky about something. I am sick to death of the republicans two faced nature. Vote every one of them out of office.

    June 11, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. Paul

    I would consider it a high honor to be called a traitor by John Boehner.

    June 11, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. Snarky MacFee

    I love that so many of my fellow citizens are soooooooooo happy and please with the way their civil rights are daily removed under the "law". Patriot act is simply put..Legal Gestapo-ism. Next time you are asked for your "papers" on the street because you looked at an "enforcer" the wrong way (not now but it WILL happen down the road), dont run crying to the nearest blog about how this aint the same Amerka you once knew.

    June 11, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. Mikeslc43

    Boehner calls him a traitor???? Interesting. I am starting to think all politicians are traitors. Only after their own agenda and that of the lobbyists who line their pockets.

    June 11, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. tony

    Whether something is illegal, is becoming less and less about protecting the American People and more and more about making and keeping the wealthy few, more and more wealthy and more and more powerful over the people.

    How can a constant and surveilance attitude that we fought wars with communism over, because we said it was so wrong, be OK for us now?

    June 11, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  16. Patricia Ebaugh

    We all feel Mr. Snowden is a traitor and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law!

    June 11, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  17. Pete

    Great just what you'd expect from egomainiacs ,a clash of ideologies with Boehner saying what most real Americans do say and agree with for once in Snowdens being a traitor because Boehner knows from experience and the delushional Paul thinks like his son Rand that Snowdens a hero but both are out there in right field as usual being different than others..Just watch how republicans clash over this one and you'll see the imploding soon of the republican party because of this,immigration issues and the constant brinksmanship of Issa and crew with their constant political witch hunts spending millions,billions of tax payers monies but getting nothing for it in results.Typical republicans always thinking they're right when obviously they're always wrong!!

    June 11, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  18. mtkaod

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court

    June 11, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. A True Conservative

    Wow Snarky – it seems to me that Team Obama are the traitors. But then you are obviously another Obama apologist. He couldn’t possibly be a traitor – he is simply an innocent observer – above the fray – responsible for nothing. Just as we WARNED you before he was first elected!

    June 11, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. Alina77

    This is so embarrassing, this country cant hold on to one f... secret.. We are lucky we not at war. Oh wait...

    June 11, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  21. Mikeslc43

    This all started decades ago people. The government has been retrieving your information and likely has it stored away somewhere. What's really scary is the fact that even though the government has this information they haven't been able to thwart a single event. You would think even the school shootings, theater shootings and other various events that have taken innocent lives could have been prevented with all this necessary mined information.
    Shame on the government for retaining this information. Shame on anyone who thinks the information they type on the internet is secure and private. I don't consider this guy a traitor any more than the corrupt politicians in DC. We need to clean house, both democrat and republican in 2014.

    June 11, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. Pam from Iowa

    Last week Boehner had a brain fart and couldn't remember that he repeatedly voted for this secret survellience while Bush was President, and now he is calling this guy a traitor????
    You betrayed us Boehner when you voted for the Patriot Act and allowed this snooping on innocent Americans to occur!

    June 11, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. VirtualInsanity

    It's not often I agree with the Repubs, but in this case Boehner is right. Snowden is a traitor and should be treated as such for divulging this information.

    June 11, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. Larry L

    1. Violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one's country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.
    2. A betrayal of trust or confidence.

    Snowden's release of highly classified information is illegal and the act of a traitor. It fits the actual definition of "treason" and makes hims subject to very serious punishment. One might argue the death penalty is appropriate during times of war.

    June 11, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. tony

    Legal or not is what mega corporations decide and pay politicians to make so.

    June 11, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
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