If there’s anything that could potentially unite Americans of all stripes, it’s our almost universal disdain for the NSA’s domestic spying program. Take, as evidence, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was booed and heckled by a group of her fellow liberals for denouncing whisteblower Edward Snowden and defending the controversial U.S. secret surveillance programs.
At the Netroots Nation 2013 event in San Jose, California, Pelosi drew a very vocal backlash for her answers to questions about the NSA’s data surveillance and her opinion of whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Pelosi was among friends at the gathering of progressive activists, but swatted comparisons between George W. Bush and President Obama, the latter of whom has continued and even strengthened many of his predecessor’s controversial national security policies.
Her version of the story is that Democrats had succeeded in bringing increased oversight to the NSA spying programs by handing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) courts a role in the process, and that should make us feel better because: Insanity.
She started up about the need to “balance” privacy and security, at which point a man stood up and yelled “it’s not a balance, it makes us less safe” while criticizing “secret courts” in charge of our rights.
Staffers began to escort the man from the room, causing others to shout “leave him alone.” He was ultimately ejected.
The conversation then turned to Snowden, lauded as a hero by many, yet condemned as a traitor and criminal by many U.S. officials.
Pelosi said that Snowden “did violate the law in terms of releasing those documents,” which brought about boos and yells from the audience. One man shouted “You suck!”
One attendee later criticized the government of outsourcing national security. Pelosi agreed (effectively negating her earlier point about “increased oversight” through FISA) eliciting loud applause. Short-term memory, I suppose.