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. rosethornne

    How interesting that the word "traitor" is flung around so easily by a person who accepted a solemn duty and then at the first chance ran out to sell his behind to the highest bidder and betray the American people for his own personal gain.

    I like other words for Mr Orange Whiner.... misfeasance, malfeasance, impeachment, recall, felony, prison, alcoholic, liar, crybaby, fashion victim... to name a few.

    June 11, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. amusedbyyou

    finally the orange bonehead got one right,all you paranoid Obama haters can relax, you have my personal guarantee he will not be reelected in 2016, now if only the 47% who lost the election will straighten up their act, don't know which best describes republicans, spoiled rich brats who didn't get their way so they throw a tantrum, or they are just zombies, walking dead

    June 11, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. Mesopotamia

    I think it was a terrible thing which Mr.Snowden did...After being trusted by the government,he betrayed them...The best thing America should do is to not let such kids play with them such dangerous game...What do ya expect the government do to you through your secret informations ???do you not trust them?...Then why you voted for them?...And I think willingly or unwillingly the government need those secret agents to get rid of Terrorists and America's enemies.

    June 11, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    @Alex in Wisconsin – Ah, I understand now, behind every scandal, there is a conservative or libertarian. The gameplan is sabotage government and blame Obama and Clinton. From conservatives at the IRS giving the ok for extra scrutiny to tea party groups to fake email talking points leaking to ABC to a Paulbot releasing not so secret details of the NSA program to the public., these scandals are targeted and carefully presented to the media by those who hate President Obama.
    Think you are spot on! These so-callled "scandals" didn't just happen. They were there during Obama's first term so why are they all of sudden coming to light! The Tea Partiers goal is to tarnish the President's 2nd term and also Hillary Clinton's reputation.

    June 11, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  5. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    Boehner's assessment of Snowden is correct.

    June 11, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  6. Ghostwriter

    As an IT person, I'd like to know how the heck this guy got a government IT position without a freakin' college degree? I know college isn't everything and you can certainly learn alot on your own, but they won't even look at most folks without a degree or substantial experience.

    June 11, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  7. Ghostwriter

    I love conservatives calling hima hero for helping to bring to light this administration's evil doings that started with the last administration.

    It must be heII to be a conservative. I'd imagine their political stupidity has to flow into other areas of their lives.

    June 11, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  8. NameLindaHardge

    Snowden is a traitor and has put the security of the US at risk. This man worked with the CIA. Also surveilance of phone conversations helps to gleen information on terrorist activity. The government is not interested in our mudane conversations people. The Republicans need to get to work on the important issues of this nation such as the economy and the deficit. The IRS had every right to scrutnize the applications of those wanting tax exemption. They trippled from over 1000 to over 3000. Red flag people!

    June 11, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  9. picnick

    Rand Paul is presidential material. I remember when Rand Paul voted against the PATRIOT Act. Rand could be out today doing a lot of:"I told ya so's" But Rand is reserved and he knows that his record speaks loudly.

    Hillary voted for the PATRIOT Act twice.

    June 11, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  10. Mac

    You can bet the NSA is blackmailing Boehner. The guy crys if you stare at him wrong. The kid proved our Government lied to the People. The only one committing treason is our Government!

    June 11, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  11. Name

    Edward Snowden is not an American as he has a defective mind and a leaking existence. If you want to meet good people, please go to Haiti, in the mountains, where people learn and know how to keep secrets. Why ? Because they are illetrate. People who go to school, most of them, are traitors. Pure and simple !

    June 11, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  12. wildbill

    What risk? That are goverment wants the american people to be in gages.and to do what ever they say.I don't think so.

    June 11, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  13. Name ma snoke

    Talk about calling the kettle black ! "No we're not doing that " well yes we are !!! Lies and more lies. Who's the traitor's again ??? Stop treating us all like terrorist.blame it on the conspiracey nuts,guesse thier not nuts after all. Wake up sheep. This started under Bush and Chaney !

    June 11, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  14. RWB1956

    Well, while some people obsess over something they clearly don't understand, I'll go on about my business as I laugh at you because you think there are millions of people with an earplug in their ear listening to your boring conversations..Stop the paranoia. It'll destroy ya..

    June 11, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  15. Name Judas

    Choose your comments wisely – every pseudonym is already associated to the sender's IP address which in turn has been accessed and if desired – account information forwarded. Algorithms are a fascinating investigative tool. Can you imagine the patterns observed? Marketing companies would increase sales exponentially....

    June 11, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  16. loosun

    Why is the gov't contracting such sensitive security information with private companies like Booz Allen Hamilton who hired a security guard to do high tech serveillance? The gov't needs to investigate this company as well. Snowden is more than a traittor. He is naive, ignorant and has no knowledge of world affairs or how national security truly functions. He is naive about world affairs and has placed this country at risk in revealing security information which will be used by our adversaries around the world. The US needs to STOP outsourcing if it truly wants to protect us.

    June 11, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  17. Name JohnK

    This was s sweeping violation of the first and fourth amendment and as a citizen he has exercised his right to petition his government threw his obvious and public display of civil disobedience.That defines a patriot of this nation. History will be kind to him but I'm afraid power brokers like Boehner petition for closed prosecution of this case citing a danger to national security. We citizens must demand the coming prosecution of Snowden be open for all to see and judge.

    June 11, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  18. glyn

    Its so sad this guy put agents lifes in trouble ,what bothers me is why hong cong there not are friends ,he is a TRAITER NOT A HERO.whistle blowers dont steal files and take them out the country and give them to a forien can we stop bad guys if all are secerts are open to the world .get those files back and send a hit squad to make him pay painfuly before KILLING HIM ,GOB BLESS AMERICA AND OUR FREEDOM N OUR WAY OF LIFE . good or bad!!!!!

    June 11, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  19. Leroy

    Hopefully, we shall never see Rand Paul get any type of assignment that included the word "intelligence"...

    June 11, 2013 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  20. let me get this right...

    Ive spent a lot of days/months in countries around the world and one thing ive never seen in other countries are verizon or att commercials or how exactly does collecting my phone data prevent terrorist plotting against america on phones in pakistan? And we spemd billions to find these "terrorist", im certain they are smart enough to usee throw away phones. One thing this guy is not is a traitor...he is a hero and should be rewarded by the public

    June 11, 2013 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  21. Former GOP

    ........Paul is a TRAITOR as well if he supports this SECURITY BREACH............

    June 11, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  22. Name

    @Suzy Mack. Be careful what you wish fir

    June 11, 2013 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  23. Webbie

    "United We Stand" Let us not forget about our brothers and sisters who fell from acts of terrorism. We must understand that there would be some intrusion on our privacy by the government. The terrorist are using the same lines of communication as we are. Just a thought.

    June 11, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  24. Yeah Ok

    Whether it was the right thing to do...nice guys don't last in the real world. Every country monitors its citizens. Will US be Ned Stark of the world doing the right thing and moral but getting the head chopped off and the House destroyed. We all know reality doesn't give a crap about honor.

    June 11, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  25. MaryM

    Rand Paul reserves judgment because Snowden made donations to Rand Paul.

    June 12, 2013 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
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