The Washington Times - July 17, 2013, 01:01PM

House Speaker John A. Boehner said Wednesday that it would be an unfair punishment to American athletes to boycott the upcoming Winter Olympics, to be held in Sochi, Russia, next year, over Moscow’s handling of the central figure in the National Security Agency leaking controversy.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, raised the possibility of a boycott earlier this week, telling The Hill newspaper that the threat would send a signal to Russia not to offer asylum to Edward Snowden, the person who leaked classified data on government data collection programs.

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But Mr. Boehner, while saying he is friends with Mr. Graham, called him “dead wrong.”

“Listen, why would we want to punish U.S. athletes who’ve been training for three years to compete in the Olympics over a traitor who can’t find a place to call home?” Mr. Boehner said.