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. name

    Boehner is the traitor along with other 387 people in Congress.

    June 11, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  2. Jay in NC

    No Boehner, you and Obama are traitors for gathering our emails.

    June 11, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  3. The Real Tom Paine


    The hell with both Democrats and Republicans. Had this happened under Bush, the Progressives would have hailed this kid as a hero, which shows you the utter hypocrisy. And then you have the war-hawk branch of the Republicans like Bohner and Rove, who are all about infringement of rights in the name of "homeland protection". We just saw how the government manipulates information for political gain in the IRS scandal and in the FOX / AP reporter scandal. Now we find out that that same government has been retaining records of ALL our calls and emails – even those not suspected of crimes. If ever there were a reason to ditch BOTH parties and vote Libertarian, this is it.
    if we lived in a world where people would be impressed with the virtue of the Libertarians, fine, but we don't live in such a world.

    June 11, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  4. Mary1972

    He is a traitor and his exposing of this is a big gift to Alqueda and other groups that are forever plotting against USA.

    June 11, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  5. USAPeasant

    Look into Boehners ties to corruption and lobbying. Wikipedia Peter King. It is clear who the real traitors are.

    Edward Snowden is a hero and every single REAL American knows it.

    June 11, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  6. Operations

    Snowden was wrong in what he did.
    Whether what NSA is doing is wrong is something Congress needs to review and decide. That is what they are there for.
    Remember that spying is never legal (where it is being done) and never "right". But sometimes it is necessary. What is important is that the spys act as alarm ringers, and advisers not cops. As long as they are serving that function, and not hauling people into court, then the programs are likely a necessary evil.

    June 11, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  7. sgurdog

    The political establishment are the traitors. When Bush broke established FISA laws, they simply changed them to fit the crime and make it legal. They have created a secret government that no one on the outside can know about. When both parties are crying the same talking points, beware.

    June 11, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  8. reasonablebe

    somehow boehner doesn't see obstructing national interests by preventing the government from functioning because your party did not win the presidency as being a traitor?

    putting party and personal interests ahead of the national interests of the nation you have been entrusted with caring for, running, is somehow is not a crime?

    overreaching by abusing power for purposes of control in a nation with intentionally limited government is not a crime?

    June 11, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. Puddin

    I'll bet the victims of the Boston Marithon bombers wish our government had been monitoring the perpertraitors calls. There wouldn't have been any deaths or amputations that have changed lives permanently. I could care less if my computer and phone calls are monitored. If we have nothing to hide, what's the problem if it saves American lives, and I feel it does. This traitor, Snowden, had he been privy to why the government was doing this, maybe his light bulb would have lit up. There are all kinds of traitors in this country. This morning I read about a bunch of doctors in NY and NJ who scammed medicare of millions by bribing a lab. They insisted the lab pay them a bribe in order to get their business. Our economy is heading into the toilet, and they do this! I hope they all serve time and lose their licence to practice medicine. I grew up when people were patriotic to their country. What's going on now with this sort of behavior is jaw-dropping.

    June 11, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  10. As-if

    Freedom of Speech. This man is a hero for exposing how our Gov (both Dems and Repubs) are infringing on our rights and liberties. Mr. Snowden is a hero. His sacrifice will be remembered!

    June 11, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. cheekyindian

    Rand Paul just showed again how naive he was. God forbid if he was President and outlawed all such programs, US and the world would be torn asunder by home grown terrorists doing their business unchecked.Kentucky kindly vote him out. As for snowden, I dont think he is a traitor. He is just a twit, one that believes that a little harmless intrusion into the private lives of citizens is too much price to pay for lives saved. Remember people even if one life was saved, the program is useful. And all detractors, point out one instance of misuse of the program and then we will talk. The fact that no one even realized the program was in effect is just how harmless it to use it.

    June 11, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  12. Robert Dangredo

    This is like the pot calling the John Boehner is a traitor to every American and his actions over the last two years for not passing a budget, for not bringing Congress to a consensus, for not avoiding the sequestration that affects every American life is far more Treasonous than ANYTHING that poor little Snowden will ever think of doing. John Boehner is attempting anything to draw attention away from himself and his sloppy, dimwitted escapades.

    June 11, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  13. Donnie the Lion

    Yes, if you don't like the activities of the NSA under Obama, you REALLY aren't going to like it moving forward in American history. Rand Paul might be the one person who would try to curb it, and he's not going to be elected President, ever. This is post-911 America, people. When those attacks happened, the one thing everybody united on was demanding our government never let it happen again. We are living under the umbrella we asked for.

    June 11, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  14. JayT

    I never fail to be amazed when people such as Boehner and his ilk call others traitors to the US. After all, there are many US citizens across the entire political spectrum who look at him and think the exact same thing of him as a result of his alleged "leadership" in Congress. Regardless of who is in the Oval Office US citizens expect far more of their elected representatives in Congress than either party has demonstrated.

    June 11, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  15. marge jones

    The true traitors are the people in washington who want to see tour nation destroyed from the inside. They have done very well. I have read that there are alot of communits in washington.

    June 11, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  16. Victor

    “If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law” - Henry David Thoreau.

    I voted for Obama twice, proudly and without regret. But his track record on civil liberties is abyssmal.

    June 11, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  17. grumpy

    Snowden is neither a hero nor a traitor, but he may be a self deceived fool.

    June 11, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  18. newz4i

    Rand Paul 'reserving judgment' ... "I'm running for office, for Pete's sake."

    June 11, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  19. Jules

    Rand Paul is reserving judgment and he wants to be president?????? Something that was legally passed by Congress, signed by two presidents and he is reserving judgment? No need to reserve judgment on him for president.- he would put his hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the law but his fingers would be crossed behind his back. Good ad clip for your opponents, Paul.

    June 11, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  20. bspurloc

    PATRIOT ACT is the traitor and the dudes who created it are traitors bush cheney

    June 11, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  21. TracyS

    Risk to our National Security??? Good Lord, Like I and all people I know haven't said for YEARS, careful what you put out online, the Government is now reading our emails, facebook, etc. and phone companies share our info....This was no dam* secret! And if us common folk new it already, you can be sure the "terrorists" knew it! The REAL threat to our National Security is a Government that attacks and Kills Hundreds of women, Children, and other innocent civilians with Drone Strikes giving "terrorists" and foreign enemies a rally cry, a stronger desire, and a driving force to attack America! Many Many Americans are FAR more worried about and fearful of our invasive, secretive, overpowering Government than we have ever been of being struck down by a terrorist. Our Government, Deficit, The Elite, & The Banks have grown to Big, hold too much power and are the out of control mechanisms of this world that place people all over the planet in terror by constantly infringing upon life, liberty and justice....for ALL! When will the world learn that secrets, lies, and violence only begets more of the same...We tell our children not to lie, not to hit other kids etc. and then the leading adults of the World Lie and Murder day after day. When will we ever learn....

    June 11, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  22. navaJohn

    For the first time EVER, I agree with Boehner.

    June 11, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  23. joeinFL

    Well if anyone would know what a traitor looks like its John Boehner, He and the Obama Administration are the poster children for it.

    June 11, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  24. ImforAmericanRights

    I am for my freedom and my rights. Government does not have the right to spy on me, search my property, or infringe on my freedoms 'just because'. That is what our gov't has been doing, and what Mr. Snowden revealed. Our whole govt is corrupt, and that means his chain of command as well. What you all SHOULD be caring about is the slow demise of your freedom...when they have you in a camp and feed you bread (if that) because they want to it will be a little too late to cry foul.

    June 11, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  25. rs

    Funny, I think Boenher is a traitor. All these years and still NO JOBS bill(s) to help avergae Americans, but all sorts of bailouts for the banks, industries and the rich.

    June 11, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
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