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. Mac

    I live in Boehner's district.

    He's one of the greatest traitors in American History. (Boehner) Everything he does is to further enrich John Boehner. He makes all decisions based upon they help him, not millions of Americans.

    June 11, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. Dirtydozens

    Really people... Are you that ignorant. Are you saying you didn't know that that the govt. doesn't keep track of calls, internet traffic and correspondance to and from other countries? Then you are dense. If you have a SSN or an ITIN then you are plugged in. Now as far as I am concerned, I have nothing to hide with my message traffic or my phone records or my mail. You watch the news and wonder how some bomb plots get foiled mysteriously... Well, it's called surveillance. Once in a while something happens despite all the serveillance. This guy is a traitor and should be tried for treason plain and simple. We live in a digital age. We dont use pony express anymore. I am not an obama supporter, but he has a point as he said "You can’t have 100% security and also then have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience”.

    Our country is full of so many nationalities, and with so many links to so many countries all over the world, there are some that want the complete downfall of this nation including some leeching off this nation potentially living right next door to YOU. There needs to be a good surveillance program. Oviously this TARD doesn't take the quote "LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS" seriously. Though he's got cajones for not being anonymous I dont think he realized the danger he puts each and every one of us in. 9/11 woke us up and america was bloodthirsty for vengance and we now have some of the most sophisticated surveillance and security in the world, then america rolled over and went back to sleep and now we are living in a pool of ignorance. Dont be neive people, with all the information that gets uploaded to data banks, they can't catch every event. As of July 2012 americas pop is 953,565,000 do the math, things may slip through cracks, so dont bring school shootings into this. We are talking about international terrorism and end of the US kind of surveillance. So now numbnuts exposed our capabilities in which we will now have to modify potentially costing us an additional multibillion dollar amount so that we can keep our intel secure.

    June 11, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  3. weezer

    "He's a traitor", Boehner said between sobs.

    June 11, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  4. sasss31

    Absolutely. As a moderate Democrat, I am 100% with Speaker Boehner on this one.

    June 11, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  5. Jimh77

    Look who's talking treason. He best never look in the mirror ever again.

    June 11, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  6. Larry L


    call him a traitor, but either way the fact remains that if the NSA can't even secure their own employees, how can they protect us?
    You expect the NSA to "secure it's own employees" when people are considering the traitor a hero? If Snowden gets about 20 years in the federal prison system other employees might choose to honor their pledge rather than try to seek information to leak. You are correct – without the ability to manage covert operations the NSA will not be able to protect America from terrorism.

    June 11, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. WeSignItAway

    On my last Dr. visit there was a new form that I asked to sign. My medical records could be seized by the government for security reasons. I declined, but was still treated. You have to wonder...

    Additionally, every time you use a debit card there is a sales record that is collected. Our family went gluten free a couple of years ago. About 8 weeks after this diet change I received a mailing from a LARGE national food producer saying; "We've missed you. Please come back!" They included $50 of coupons. I was so creeped out that even my eating habit was being tracked that now most of my transactions are now in cash – work travel being the only thing leaving an electronic foot print from a purchase point.

    June 11, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Laurie in Spokane

    Just heard on a news program that 850,000 people – yes 850,000 ! – US citizens have top security clearance. So, how many of those people are selling secrets? Tell me, now can that number of security clearances be managed, and why are so many clearances necessary? The US of A is definitely out of control.

    June 11, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. Marie MD

    @Frank, listen up and read VERY carefully. "Top secret"
    Unless he has given himself up he has not confronted the authorities. He's a wanted criminal and on every countries' wanted list. He is also a coward because if he thought what he did to our national security is not a big deal he wouldn't have run like a scared rabbit (pardon to rabbits everywhere).
    He also chose to go hide in not just a communist county but a country who might not be really our overt enemy but is!

    June 11, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. david shoup

    I agree with JB. This man could have made his point in many other ways. All Gov't Contractors take the same ethics training as federal employees. Snowden displayed no moral character in this.

    June 11, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  11. brown291

    If you think other countries outside of the U.S. don't have security programs in place to protect their country, you are sadly mistaken. in fact, if snowden is so convince that what he did is noble, why leave the U.S.? return and defend your position.. and don't think that being in another country will be a safe haven, if he's is put in a tight spot, there is no doubt he will use what he knows as a bargaining chip with China, Hong Kong, etc.

    June 11, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. Dirtydozens

    I like how BILL above quotes Ben Franklin and all these folks who lived in an age where we were with horse and buggy. Locomotives were new technology. No they didnt have twitter or FB or Instagram or smartphones. Telegram was only available in major hubs. Bill, please give some educational referances from our present and not the stoneage

    June 11, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. Mitch

    I think that I have a slightly different view. It appears to me that our government has morphed into a corporatocracy. The government has turned over to corporations functions that should be reserved to governments. Corporations are profit-motivated. Booz Allen Consulting , it is reported, received 99% of its multi-billion income from the federal government. The federal government is out-sourcing to corporate cronies an incredible number of functions that should be performed by government employees. Government employees that would be screened much better than this high school drop-out traitor.

    June 11, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  14. Paul

    Never trust your govt. Hats off to Mr. Snowden.

    June 11, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. mikees67ss

    For Danielle, Peace of mind at what price? Freedom is slipping away a little at a time. Mr Boehner is just trying to deflect the attention from the real issue which is the United States should not be spying on its own citizens. Perhaps bedroom checks are next! Is that OK as long as you have nothing to hide?

    June 11, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    There is a fundamental flaw in the argument the libertarians are making. The claim profuse respect for the law, and that this person is a hero for exposing the government. That's hypocrisy to the "nth" degree.

    Bills are written, they are voted on, and when passed become the law of the land, which everyone should respect. I would expect the libertarians to respect the law most of all because it is their calling card. Yet, the only laws that they seem to respect seem to be the laws that they agree with. Democracy is irrelevant. Majority rule does not matter. Only their belief system are what matters to them, and everyone else should conform to their beliefs.

    This person broke existing law. This person violated a signed contract with his company. This person violated a non-disclosure agreement he made with the government, thereby placing our national security at risk. Whether or not you agree with the law is less important than respecting it, and adhering to it. If everyone were allowed to selectively conform or ignore any law that they so chose, (which is really what libertarianism is all about, if you ask me), then what's the point of having any laws at all?

    June 11, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  17. us_1776

    Well, there you have it.

    If Boehner thinks he's a traitor then you know the guy is a bona-fide American Hero.


    June 11, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Fair, "Skippy" Snowden aided our enemies in gratuitously exposing national security secrets that he was sworn to keep secret.
    No laws were being violated. There was no reason for him to do what he did except to personally profit by putting his country at risk
    He violated his pledge of allegiance to this country by consciously putting us at risk, ergo he relinquished his rights as a citizen of this country.
    He can go pitch for China.

    June 11, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    ...And yes, the fact that The Drunkard of the House says that "Skippy" Snowden is a traitor does NOT make Boehner any less a traitor.
    It takes one traitor to recognize another.

    June 11, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. jw

    To late rand Paul already took his position and sided with a traitor who is sympathizing with terrorists....political suicide

    June 11, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  21. sassysticks53

    Why is a "hero" hiding in a communist country if he's a hero? I agree with Bonehead, Snowden's a traitor.

    June 11, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. resident

    Traitor? The pot is certainly calling the kettle "black" here. The difference between a patriot and a traitor is one of mere perspective.

    June 11, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. Thomas

    This would have never happened under GW Bush ?

    Bush / Cheney
    Fool me Twice 2016

    June 11, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  24. Cephus

    A traitor or a Hero? Boehner and people of your like find another place to build Gestapo.

    June 11, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  25. brian

    i think boehner should get a nose ring, then I might think he has some testicles...

    June 11, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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