Boehner: Obama Needs to ‘Engage’ With Putin on Snowden

By Elizabeth Harrington | August 1, 2013 | 12:32 PM EDT

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) (AP)

( – Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) said President Barack Obama needs to engage with Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding Edward Snowden, since Russia granted temporary asylum to the National Security Agency (NSA) leaker, allowing him to stay in that country until at least July 31, 2014.

“Mr. Snowden’s actions have hurt the ability of our country to protect our citizens,” Boehner told reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday.  “And I would hope that President Obama would engage President Putin on this issue and resolve it in a way that’s satisfactory to the American people.”

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When asked to be more specific and to “engage in what way?” Boehner deferred to Obama.

“I’ll let him decide,” he said.  “I’ll let him decide the best way to engage the president [Putin].”

Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, on Sunday, June 9, 2013, in Hong Kong.  (AP Photo/The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras)

Snowden, who leaked classified information on the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance programs, was granted temporary asylum in Russia on Thursday, leaving a Moscow airport where he has been in limbo for more than a month.  He is wanted by the United States under espionage charges.

The White House said it was “seeking clarity” from Russia about Snowden’s status last week.

Boehner has previously called Snowden a “traitor,” and steadfastly defended the NSA’s programs.

“He’s a traitor,” Boehner said in June.  “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.”

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