Calling Snowden a criminal, Pelosi booed by progressives
June 23rd, 2013
08:45 AM ET
5 years 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. spud

    I can't believe I'm saying this but I agree with Pelosi.

    June 23, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  2. ST

    There is nothing which precedes the security of the country. No progress can be done if the country's security is shaky or not there. I hope progressives understand this.

    June 23, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. Dr Tom

    Agreeing with George W, all Americans have responsibility for the security of the U.S. Pelosi is being a little argant. But she is right that Snowden violated the law. But he still may be a hero for doing so.

    June 23, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. June

    Bottom line is since 9/11 I just don't feel like I live in a Free America anymore.

    June 23, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. SRyan

    Progressives, liberals, conservatives...if you're a reasonably intelligent HUMAN BEING you should be booing her every uttered word.

    June 23, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  6. SeeThruIt2

    There`s a subtle difference between maintaining the security of the country vs controlling the masses to maintain your own power over them.

    June 23, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  7. A Kickin` Donkey

    Snowden is now running to Moscow. Pelosi was right that he is a criminal and other true Democrats should be the 1st ones to convict him.

    Snowden has an inflated view of himself. He is not a "whistleblower" He ran to China & Russia to help him hide and escape justice. He had a clearence; and he broke it. He goes down. His own view that he is justified in breaking the law and that he should be excused.

    June 23, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  8. Jeff

    Oh yes, the terrible "responsibility" that our elected officials have for our security. It must be so hard to illegally wiretap American citizens, read our email, send troops to their deaths, torture suspected terrorists, and drop bombs on innocent bystanders who just happen to live in a country we invaded. What a burden for Ms. Pelosi and the rest of our elected officials!

    June 23, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  9. benster

    "You don't have the responsibility for the security of the United States" She and he rest in Washington need to look in the mirror and say this. Our borders to the south prove they have not been responsible for more than 50 years.

    June 23, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  10. blah

    She understands the anger? No. No, she doesn't.

    June 23, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  11. benster

    If you get arrested for illegally entering any other country in the world you end up prosecuted and imprisoned then deported.

    June 23, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. Reality is a b!¥ch

    I hate evil as much as the next guy, but I agree with Nancy and Obama on this one. The technology to transmit and recieve communication, whether mail, telegraph, telephone or Internet, is sanctioned by governments in exchange for the ability to monitor the transmissions. So a recent administration had to update this to tap the Internet, probably Cheney's, maybe Clinton's, but this stuff has been going on a long time. So Obama keeps these programs going, recognizing that it helps catch terrorists, as well as recording emails, texts and phone calls to your, and my, bookies, mistresses and pot dealers. Do you think you think that an underfunded government like ours has the resources to follow up on, or interfere with, with our pitiful existences when they have real bad guys to catch? I really doubt that (unless you are still iin, or just lost, an election campaign, but that has been going on forever also). With that, I am resigned to USA intel practices, whether administered by the tongue-tied Democrats or the elitist republicans. To his credit, I suspect our old buddy Darth Cheney would not have waffled as much as the Demos have in this subject. I would have expected him to say "yeah, we record all that stuff. So what?". Not that I ever want to see another administration like THAT one any time soon.

    June 23, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  13. M. Callahan

    He absolutely did break the law.... If as it appears he is trying to make tHe case for civil disobedience He should read Letteres From A Birmingham Jail by MLK......note ot was written from jail. When he did what he did, he violated his oath and the law, by leavingnthe dountryand fleeing first to a part of China and now to Russia he has pretty mich voided that argument. Had he stayed and made his case he had a chance but instead he headed to two places which have been considered , if not enemies, certainly not friends, both of whom are in direct conflict with most of the rest of the world on Syria and their lack of cooperation is making progress in that area problematic. By going there and looking for asylum he has effectively defected. There is no coming back from that.

    June 23, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Perhaps he thinks he'll get more rights and freedoms in China, Russia, Cuba, or Venezuela. I think he's mistaken...

    June 23, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. Tom

    Rationalization at its finest. As long as they have an excuse, they don't have to answer for anything. Guess the best excuse Pelosi can come up with is, "the previous guy did it worse" now that we're in the current president's second term.

    June 23, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  16. NN

    This woman is worthless, a lifelong politician serving no one but herself.

    June 23, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  17. Rs1201

    Hey pelvis....insider trading is also against the law!

    June 23, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. are122

    Nutroots Nation would be more applicable.

    June 23, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  19. ticman

    No one is above the law missy, you all got back what you put out! He took a leak and you poo on us.

    June 23, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  20. puddintane

    progressives, patriots = same self-loving king of people no self-respecting country really needs

    June 23, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. Jan

    Of course Snowden "violated the law." It is called Civil Disobedience in the service of one's country, and that takes courage. We can debate whether his actions were, in fact, more of a service or more of a disservice to this nation, but the Civil Disobedience and good faith nature of this particular transgression of Law is an important factor.

    June 23, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. matt houston

    The U.S. is at fault for being in foreign countries and nation building abroad...especially in the middle east. That is why many groups are angry at the U.S. government and they attack us when they can. Does anyone think that it is fair for "We the People" to give up the holy principles of liberty that our forefathers died to enact and protect in order to enable our current government to continue its policies of espionage and nation building in the world? It's their fault, yet we pay the price??? How does that feel?

    I don't see anyone attacking and calling for the destruction of Iceland. Why? Because they ain't in the Middle East trying to influence oil production and business. They mind their own business and they have their own energy.

    June 23, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  23. Tony

    Who knows what Pelosi really believes, but thankfully to her credit (and thankfully also unlike her successor as speaker) she's smart enough not to enrage middle-of-the road, swing voters every time she opens her mouth.

    June 23, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  24. Jean-Sartre

    I think Mrs. Pelosi makes a great point, "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."

    The average citizen has absolutely no idea what its government has to do in order for them to "feel" safe in a ever increasing dangerous world; I think that is a discussion well worth undertaking.

    One person's "Freedom Fighter" is another person's "Terrorist."

    One person's "Hero" is another person's "Traitor."

    June 23, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  25. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    You can't have it both ways, ill take security.

    June 23, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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