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. Alan

    Mr. Speaker – that's a case of calling the kettle BLACK!. You are a traitor sir, a traitor to this country for being an obstructionist, failing to pass any significant JOBS legilslation in a collaboration with either the Senate or Executive branch, failing to pay the governments bills on-time and holding the American Tax payer hostage by failing to do your job by even bringing the dysfunctional Republican party together in the House. All you've done is pass meaningless legislation trying to repeal the past instead of focusing on this countries future. For your treason against America – you should be impeached at a minimum and return your salary since 2010.

    June 11, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. Informed

    It's ironic, Boehner calling HIM a traitor. Seams like he has it backwards.

    June 11, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. electric52

    He's a TRAITOR who should be put in jail for the rest of his life, if not executed.

    Article the sixth ...... The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    It has ALWAYS been known and approved that searches CAN BE DONE. The argumentative phrase here is "probable cause". Sorry people, but if you whine and snivel when you hear that the government knew something but didn't pursue to know more (Case in point the Boston Marathon bombers) how can you complain about this? Oh and I don't care, and neither does the government, about what you do behind someone's back unless you're planning to blow people up, which is what this is all about. The world isn't getting better, it's getting nastier, grow up people. If you don't want to get blown up by some Jihadist it's going to take a lot more than saying something stupid like "We're Americans and you can't do that in this country."

    June 11, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. LRonaldHubbs

    Snowden is a hero. Boehner is the real traitor here.

    June 11, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. joesmith

    he, along with the other 535 trying to govern this country, are all in on it, doesn't surprise me, he would try to evade his own character flaws..

    June 11, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  6. Matt

    Wow, I never thought I'd agree with Beohner on anything, but on this issue I do. Snowden = treason. Game over, go home.

    June 11, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. sarabethany

    He's not a traitor. A traitor is someone who betrays their country. The only thing he betrayed was this illegal program that violates the Constitution. He is government whistleblower, since the program he exposed was illegal to begin with. Yes, he did break the law in the way that he did it. So he should be punished, but not too harshly, because he did it out of patriotism and had noble intentions.

    June 11, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. joesmith

    moerover, these 535 who give lip service to govern'g, wouldn;t recognise Patrick Henry, from a last winters snow..

    June 11, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. banditos

    Did he cry when he said that? I think boehner the bozo has forgot that defending the constitution is paramount. Expect a political cleaning house next elections. These corrupt corporate minions are going to be tossed out on their rears.

    June 11, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. USAPeasant

    Edward Snowden is the John Galt of democracy.

    Everytime the evil government officials do something corrupt or tyrannical the people should ask them:

    Who is Edward Snowden?

    June 11, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  11. Epacific

    Boehner, do you know what being a traitor is? It's leaking the name of your own CIA operative (i.e., Valerie Plame) because her husband criticized your administration. This is what the Bush administration did. Snowden, by comparison, is a hero.

    June 11, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. nuclear mike

    And does this not convince us all that when the real ugly facts are coming out about our Wash-DC governement that the top boys close ranks, circle the wagons and scream "national security"!!!

    I afraid Boehner has got the back of the President to save all their own asses from destruction.

    June 11, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. USAPeasant

    Why is everyone that doesn't like Edward Snowden a traitor that hates American freedom?

    Look at the records of every official hating on Snowden. Each and every one of them is corrupt beyond measure.

    June 11, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. Brian

    How exactly is Boehner a traitor??? He condemed a guy who leaked top secret US information to the world... against a law that has been on the books for, basically, 40+ years. And Boehner is a traitor???

    June 11, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. mk1

    I guess it takes one to know one as they say. Considering I feel that Boehner is a traitor for his standing in the way of progress for the American people, I would say he is in good company.

    June 11, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  16. F. Lee Hall III

    This so-called defector should be hailed as a hero. Far too long has the U.S. government lied to the very people who are constitutionally charged with "being the government". We find out the hard way it seems, the deception by our elected officials is unforgivable. The American people should take to the polls and vote the lot of them out of office. As far as being a traitor, its Boehner and his buddies in D.C. who are the REAL traitors.

    June 11, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. Anonymous

    Help him, help the bombadier!

    June 11, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "Skippy" Snowden is NOT a hero, NOR is he a whistleblower, NOR much less a patriot.
    His revelations were NOT about government abuse, overreach, illegal activity, waste, or anything such.
    He revealed secrets that he was sworn to secrecy to keep about our national security.
    He is nothing but a dangerous blabbermouth that sold himself and our country's secrets to the highest bidder.
    He exposed NO wrongdoing, NO malfeasance. Nothing.
    He just ran his f'ing mouth, exposed us to our enemies, and then ran out of the country as quick as his punk azz could take him.
    Period. End of story.

    June 11, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. Rob

    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." – Benjamin Franklin

    June 11, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. big Carl

    Your the TRAITOR Boehner and this guy Snowden's showed us just how much this hole government is fearful of it's people and it should be. we the people have had are fill of Washington's policing of the American citizens. Throw that Patriot act out the window it's a blue print on how to make a dictatorship country and it's working ... I say throw all the bums out and in act term limits on all to two terms no matter what.

    June 11, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  21. svscnn

    "...And it's a giant violation of the law." – J. Boehner

    Yes, I agree, Mr. Boehner; the NSA's actions are a giant violation of the law.

    June 11, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "Skippy" Snowden should be DRONED.

    June 11, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  23. Michele

    Sorry, but Boehner & Co. are traitors (who are paid with our tax $$).

    June 11, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  24. F. Lee Hall III

    Hail him as a hero, charge Boehner and his D.C. buddies with being traitors.

    June 11, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  25. DMR

    Many fail to realize that much of this monitoring was started well over 7 or 8 years ago. It is nothing new, nor is it unknown to those of us who work as IT professionals. All members of Congress have been briefed on this for nearly a decade. Any member claiming not understanding what was being done is being dishonest. Finally, if President Obama had stopped this monitoring, the GOP\TP and Fox News would have howled loudly, claiming the President was exposing the U.S. to terrorist risks. There is no pleasing the GOP\TP members of Congress. What Snowden did by releasing top secret information, was and is a criminal offense.

    June 11, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
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