In an interview with The Hill on Tuesday, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham stated that he would support a boycott on the Sochi 2014 Olympics if the country of Russia grants asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
Snowden, who disclosed details about U.S. intelligence surveillance of Internet activity, has applied for temporary asylum in Russia three weeks after arriving at a Moscow airport from Hong Kong, The Associated Press reports. The U.S. government wants Snowden extradited to face prosecution for espionage.
A top National Security Agency official told The Associated Press that Snowden's disclosures could be very harmful, but it's too early to tell whether he has already damaged national security.
House Speaker John Boehner, despite his longtime friendship with Graham, said at a press conference on Wednesday, "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?"
The coastal city of Sochi is slated to host the 2014 winter games, and wouldn't be the first Olympic city to be boycotted by the United States-- it wouldn't even be the first Russian city to host the games that were boycotted by the U.S.; Americans, in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
Four years later, the then-Soviet Union boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics.
In a statement released Wednesday, the U.S. Olympic Committee said it strongly opposes the idea that a boycott is in the country's best interest.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.