POLITICS

John Boehner: Edward Snowden Is A 'Traitor'

06/11/2013 09:13 am ET | Updated Jun 11, 2013

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden a "traitor" in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday.

"He's a traitor," he said. "The president outlined last week that these were important national security programs to help keep Americans safe and give us tools to fight the terrorist threat that we face."

"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," he said.

Boehner said that he had been briefed on the NSA programs. The Huffington Post's Sam Stein reported that administration officials had held 22 briefings for members of Congress on the section of the FISA law used to justify email monitoring.

Snowden, 29, had been working as an NSA contractor as an employee of Booz Allen Hamilton and leaked documents to The Guardian newspaper of London and The Washington Post showing that the agency has been gathering so-called metadata from Verizon Wireless customers and Internet data as part of a secret program called PRISM.

Boehner joins several Democrats who have also called Snowden's actions treason.

"Just on the issue of, 'Is this a whistleblower, or is this an act of treason,' I think it directly is. And I think that most of the people who serve on [the intelligence committee] will tell you that." Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) told reporters Monday.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also said that Snowden had committed an "act of treason."

The House speaker last week declined to comment on the NSA phone spying revelations.

Elise Foley contributed reporting.

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