Calling Snowden a criminal, Pelosi booed by progressives
June 23rd, 2013
08:45 AM ET
1 year ago

Calling Snowden a criminal, Pelosi booed by progressives

(CNN) – Rep. Nancy Pelosi's description of NSA leaker Edward Snowden as a criminal drew harsh reaction from liberals gathered at a conference in California on Saturday.

Speaking at Netroots Nation in San Jose, the House Democratic leader said Snowden "did violate the law in terms of releasing those documents," prompting loud boos and heckling from the crowd.

The U.S. government charged Snowden with violating the Espionage Act for his disclosure of top-secret NSA surveillance programs, which allow the federal government to monitor phone calls and Internet usage. Some Americans - including liberals who typically support President Barack Obama's agenda - have characterized those methods as unconstitutional.

Pelosi, responding to the boos, said she understood the anger, but maintained that Snowden violated the law.

Earlier, the California Democrat suggested more transparency in government intelligence programs would be welcome, though she added that elected officials responsible for national security hold a different view of the situation from average citizens.

"I know that some of you attribute heroic status to that action," she said, referring to Snowden's leaks. "But, again, you don't have the responsibility for the security of the United States. Those of us who do have to strike a difference balance."


Filed under: Nancy Pelosi • NSA
soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. Raoul Duke, Jr.

    And once they get in power, it corrupts their sense of what needs to be secured: our right to liberty from a snooping government.

    June 23, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  2. Rich

    I don't know where things will shake out with Snowden. Hopefully he wasn't acting nefariously, but what I do know is that he forced the Governemnt to admit they were doing things to Citizens that they clearly stated they were not doing. Now is the right time for everyone to start pushing for Term Limits. There is sufficient distrust on all sides. Term Limits should be a platform for 2014 election. Dems, Repubs, Pelosi, McCain, Reid, Graham, doesn't matter, the system is broken and lifetime politicians are clearly the problem.

    June 23, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  3. plain&simple

    For once Pelosi sounds reasonable. Especially with Snowden going to Russia! The far left is as wacko as the far right....no different. Both poison to a rational,reasonable government!!!

    June 23, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  4. Curious Fellow

    Germany gave their Leader the right to protect them. That is why we will never allow any government to "PROTECT" us while we turn a blind eye. Not that stupid anymore.

    June 23, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  5. shawn

    Consent of the governed gives us "the responsibility for the security of the United States." That's the problem. Our representatives don't even know who they are responsible to in their jobs. You never received the consent of the governed to behave in the way the NSA and this administration (and the last one) behaved. Ask Udall, the NSA and administration never even received consent from our representatives. It's illegal, but the law only applies to the poor and the powerless in this country.

    June 23, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  6. SixDegrees

    " you don't have the responsibility for the security of the United States."

    We sure do have that responsibility. That's the whole point, Nancy – we're trying to guard against people like you who think spying on your own citizens is OK, and who set themselves above the populace by claiming you know better than us.

    June 23, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  7. freedomluchador

    The great mass of people ... will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.

    June 23, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  8. Pat Champion

    I doubt if the people booing her with progressives. They were probably Teabags.

    June 23, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  9. DragonMaster6

    Anything supported by Pelosi has got to be questioned as treasonous by the American Citizen!

    June 23, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  10. Tom

    Nancy, I'd say you have not struck a very fine balance. In fact, you (and the rest of the government) have practically ignored the fundamental tenants upon which this country was formed. If I had ignored the laws that you did – I would be in jail right now.

    June 23, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  11. dpsoxfan

    Americans are so hypocritical. On the one hand they do not want anything in place that can help prevent a terrorist attack if it might possibly mean someone sees innocent information, yet when something does happen such as in Boston, everyone says "Why didn't the FBI know about these guys?!" and "Why couldn't our government have done something to prevent this?!" It is easy to criticize when you do not have the full knowledge of or responsibility for the program.

    June 23, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  12. deciminyan

    This is the usual misleading sensationalistic headline that I would expect from the media. I was there. Yes, she was booed by a small number of people in the audience who disagree with the draconian measures that are stripping our privacy rights. Also, there was a heckler who challenged Pelosi, and he was removed from the venue. Many of the boos were directed at the organizers' because they were denying the heckler his opportunity to state his ase.

    But overall, Pelosi was treated as a rock star and received a standing ovation at the end of her remarks.

    June 23, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  13. Walter

    Like it would make any difference. Pelosi could come out against abortion, and the libs in SF would still vote her in time and again. She'll be in Congress until she drops.

    June 23, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  14. stevensrmiller

    "When we discuss responsibility for the security of the United States, we must remember that we need to be secure against external forces and our own government."

    And against traitors.

    June 23, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  15. adamwill

    "But, again, you don't have the responsibility for the security of the United States."

    I'm not an American, and even I know that's dead wrong.

    June 23, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  16. dc

    ..... And he will defend it from Moscow??? Give me a break!

    June 23, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  17. Bill C

    I wish I hadn't signed the law which started the whole warrantless wiretapping mess!!!

    June 23, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  18. Bill.x

    He is a good for nothing criminal and traitor. All you good for nothing candyasses resting snug at home while he cohorts with the communist must feel very proud of yourselves.

    June 23, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  19. Barry

    Does anyone not think it a paradox that the charge of espionage is being made against a man who simply told the truth about the government spying on its own citizens? Even more sad is the apathy with which the erosion of rights is met by the US population.

    June 23, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  20. Pete

    Snowden is a traitor no matter where you side politically..He should be brought back and tried for espionage and giving classified intel to our enemies even if they're not...Plain and simple make him an example so others as some posters here will think twice about being a supposid hero to America and most here saying he is are just ignorent because it was Bushs as usual that caused this catastrophe in 9/11 that led to these intrusive policies of the Patriot Act,Homeland Security..Pres.Obama did sign extentions but made them legitimate putting in guidelines for our citizens welfare something Bush,Cheney didn't care about while creating them and most know that's true..Check the difference between Bushs illegal search,siezures and ones that Pres.Obama said you have to get a court order to do them,big difference today in Big Brother isn't it!!

    June 23, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  21. Joe C

    Ms. Pelosi needs to remember that the founders of our country were also considered traitors by the throne.

    June 23, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  22. Anonymous

    Perhaps Snowden's American Fan Club members would be more comfortable joining Ed in Russia? A "real" hero stands up for what he believes and faces the consequences of his "whistleblowing". He doesn't run around to other countries begging for attention, and one assumes, the highest bidder for the fruits of his stolen goods.

    Not only is Snowden a United States traitor, he is also a whiny wimp.

    June 23, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  23. Rick McDaniel

    Liberals support Snowden revealing Obama's excesses.

    June 23, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  24. darthvadersmom

    Yes, let us take care of the security of the United States. Don't worry your pretty little heads over it. You don't know as much as we do about it. Uh, Circular reasoning? Or just control freaks abound.

    June 23, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  25. Just a normal guy

    Interesting the Liberals are up in arms .with their savior President.... hahhaha .. when Bush .. was doing the same thing .. they were "nasty name calling "him.

    June 23, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
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