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. Katja

    America needs to clean house and that is on both sides , senate and congress are mired down with ideological people and the President is weak and lacking leadership.
    With everything going on he is gallivanting in Africa , nobody knows where he was on the night of the Benghazi attack but we do know that he went to Las Vegas the following day for a fundraiser.
    Forget about being a Democrat or a Republican , think as an American and show some outrage.

    June 23, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  2. rs

    Pelosi is right- the guy sold out American intelligence and security. Should we debate such intelligence gathering activities and laws? Certainly, but not because this guy sent secrets to foreign newspapers and flees to China.

    June 23, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  3. ghost

    Say what you want but the creep is a traitor and should be prosecutd to fulliest extent of the law. If he was really concerned about the American people he would have come to the American people, not a foreign country, communist or not. The way I see it is if you are not doing anything to harm this country and it's people then you have nothing to worry about. I think the ones that doing all of this screaming should be watched very closely. They must have something to hide. I am against the spying but with Mrs Pelosi, he is a criminal and nothing else. You can but you cannot hide. You hear that TRAITOR!!!

    June 23, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. longtooth

    I value my privacy as much as the next guy, but I'm not running around, waving my hands hysterically about this issue, until all the facts are out. It may be an abominable program, or it may be a necessary evil in the New Dark Ages.

    June 23, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  5. PR

    These liberals have their heads in the sand if they think that this hasn't been going on for years. You can't protect the US without these types of monitoring. Get real people..there are groups out there that waht to kill you...they need to be stopped. You need to ubnderstand the whole picture and get off yourhigh horse. YOU ARE STUPID AND IGNORANT if you don't understand these issues.

    June 23, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. Volley

    The law is the law ...and a jury has the right to nullify any law... Look it up... Jury nullification

    June 23, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. wayne

    If a space cadet like Pelosi is "responsible for our National security".........we're in deep doodoo.

    June 23, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. dc

    "Calling Snowden a criminal" about the pot and the kettle.....

    June 23, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. Joan

    Did you ever think maybe they were booing Snowden and not Pelosi. Since they gave her a standing ovation just before this I would think they may have been showing distaste for him not her. Of course the media will only say it was a slight against her. What else is new?

    June 23, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. lkeller

    This man is a criminal. He has bolted with information that is being called "transparency" by those that have no idea what is necessary to protect our country. We have to be aggressive in checking possible terrorists. These same people are up in arms that we did not chase the Boston Bomber, but think its wrong to follow possibly the same terrorists with whatever methods they can. Stop the political back-stabbing and defend your country. Don't sell secrets that keep us safe! Stop making these traitors front line news and let out country take care of it! Either you want safety or your want us to vomit our secrets so we can be attacked by our enemies...make up your minds! I prefer to let them do whatever it takes to prevent another 911.

    June 23, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  11. Marin89

    Clueless self-proclaimed "progressives" need to catch the next flight for Moscow! Bye!

    June 23, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. Safe haven!??

    Obviously both sides of the house share the same agenda, spying on the US citizens

    June 23, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. g

    every thing you buy comes from communist china and your worried about china spying on you.

    June 23, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  14. Steve

    Would you rather have the government go through copies of your phone bills (metadata) or have your legs blown off by a terrorists bomb?

    The choice is ours.

    June 23, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  15. NameFrank Deery

    Pelosi is a relic of a differant time. As a San
    Franciscan, a city now attracting young, more open-minded people to a tech industry they believe should be "open" to all, her usual rantings do not register.
    I, at 70, understand her angst, but the Democrat leaders, from Obama to Pelosi, have to realize the very 20
    something tech czars they kow-tow to for
    campaign money, are in sinc with the San Jose geeks-who boo them.

    Time to retire, Nancy! Obamacare, which she
    brazenly pushed through The House, is a disaster, but those tech-kids are not worrying about that now, which is correct for their age.
    The rest of US are, especially since one needs a legal team to explain it!

    San Jose has been an interesting place this
    week. Where was the national media? Following Paula Deen's downfall. Who cares?

    June 23, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  16. JamVee

    For once I actually agree (strongly) with Pelosi. She understands the realities and necessities of defending our country. On the other hand, her "progressive" supporters simply do not understand it (or they don't care if the country is protected), I truly don't know which it is!

    June 23, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. Corey

    I'm on the very far left, but liberals can be so dumb sometimes. There's nothing untrue about what she said. He did break the law. And I think it's important to ask ourselves: are we better off post-wikileaks? Did it really make us that much stronger as a nation? Or has the distrust of government reached the point where we somehow have come to think we have a right to know every little thing that goes on behind the scenes?

    June 23, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  18. Oh For Pete's Sake!

    Clever Obama- deflecting the disgusting actions of HIS Administration on to a man who didn't LEAK anything. Everyone knew what the government was doing long before Snowden became the "Fall guy" for a FAILED President.

    Even Putin wasn't fazed by the spying on himself and other G20 government leaders by the UK. As he said ALL governments do it – it's no secret.

    This is NOT about Snowden – it's about distraction strategies by Obama.

    June 23, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  19. Mark

    Let's get rid of Pelosi, Reid, Hilllary and Obama, and watch things change for the better in America morally, financially and socially !!!!!!!!!!!! They need to go NOW !!!!! Oh yea, I forgot about Obiden and Shumer or whatever his name is from New York ???

    June 23, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. TopView20

    Snowden violated the law? Get serious. Snowden intervened because the government was violating the constitution and abusing power on a massive scale without any checks. Obama, Pelosi, Cheney, & Bush violated American liberties on an ever increasing scale. Of course they blame the whitleblower. Better to blame and execute the squeeky wheel than to have others discover the entire government vehicle is a criminal lemon.

    June 23, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. Tadpole

    Our government does more behind closed doors that ultimately threatens the security of our citizens than any one individual ever could. They are not concerned about our security, they are concerned about their JOB SECURITY.

    June 23, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. voiceofreason

    Something to think about:
    Snowden, a high school dropout, made a very comfortable living for himself for many years working in these programs. If he was so morally opposed to them, why did it take him so long to leak? And when he decides to come clean in the name of civil liberties, why does he flee to China and then Russia, two countries with some of the worse records in civil liberties (and he may be thinking about going to Cuba so add that one to the list).

    I don't like what the government is doing, but I recognize the necessity of it in this day and age. I think, if given the responsibility of the national security community and the information they are privy to, there would be a lot less outrage on the part of the American people.

    June 23, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  23. blakenaustin

    Conservatives have been booing the wicked witch from the West for years. Now her own people turn on her. LOSER!

    June 23, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  24. Ar45

    Americans were at one time considered intellectuals but recent events on social and political issues require rethinking.
    Words such as democracy, freedom, liberty, constitutions are misused , misinterpreted and exploited for short term gains.

    June 23, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  25. Maximum bob

    Do you think for one second that this new, or something that has not gone on for at least 10 years? Geez, they listen to everything, nothing can stop this. Now, Congress, in their "outrage" professes to know nothing about this. Puleeze, give me a break. And, Pelosi as the mouthpiece does nothing for their agenda. Nothing that comes out of Pelosi's mouth should be a surprise, it's all lies, and she's damn good at it.

    June 23, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6