WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner (BAY’-nur) is rejecting the suggestion that the United States boycott the Winter Olympics in Sochi (SOH’-chee) if Russia grants asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Boehner was asked about Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham’s comments that the U.S. should keep its athletes home during the 2014 Winter Olympics next February.
Boehner said it would be unfair to punish American athletes over a “traitor” like Snowden, who has applied for temporary asylum in Russia three weeks after arriving at a Moscow airport from Hong Kong. The United States wants Snowden sent home to face prosecution for espionage.
Snowden’s fate has roiled already tense U.S.-Russia relations.
In the 1980s, the United States boycotted the Olympics over Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan.