Calling Snowden a criminal, Pelosi booed by progressives
June 23rd, 2013
08:45 AM ET
10 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. Jake

    I totally agree, I think "we" should have enacted term limits 200 years ago, a long overdue fix...

    June 23, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  2. Clint

    If Snowden is allowed to come back home, he is as good as dead.

    June 23, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  3. Voiceinthewind

    Impeachment is off the table Pelosi should resign poli-ticks already. She has sided with the Republicant's more than once her and Liberman are in the same boat, neither one of them belong in poli-ticks they are liars and self serving greedy poli-tickers.

    June 23, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. Ryan

    Pelosi is a coward and a liberal in name only. Ron Paul is more of a liberal than she is and I hate to say that since he's a die-hard corporatist but at least he believes in some modicum of freedom.

    June 23, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  5. Ryan

    @Ron L: The people who hid Jews from the Nazis broke the law too, would you have them prosecuted as well or would you join with the SS in standing on the concentration camp guard tower?

    June 23, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  6. worktolive

    This just goes to show you how much distrust your own party has in you, Obummer and our government in general.

    June 23, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. RickV

    Protecting National Security does not protect the political class. All public servants in Washington should be ever aware that they are only one bad day away from a tree and a rope on Pennsylvania Ave.

    June 23, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. Steveo

    Interesting how I agree with her(very rare) and her own is booing her! I guess the moon was extra large

    June 23, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. Anthony... proud tax payer

    The government you say is working against us, is the same one you also expect to protect us.
    Yet you praise a guy who exposes sensitive classified information which potentially jeopardizes your safety
    and you call him a hero?

    June 23, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  10. Tony in Maine

    Pelosi's stock just doubled in my mind. Progressives are too young to have served their country in harms way. They don't understand that a person like Snowden has shown himself to be a self righteous liar, the worst kind. He signed a piece of paper swearing to keep sceret that to which he was privy. The secrets are not the passwords or code to some little boys' treehouse fort, they are that which prevents an attack on the United States and its allies by people who would slit Snowden's throat for the fun of it.

    I think the best description is "emotionally immature" while the more satisfying is self righteous little twit.

    June 23, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. Jim

    I have been trying to understand what exactly Mr. Snowden did that was so wrong other than embarrass politicians and NSA. As I understand it he didn;t sell operational data to our enemies, but rather released information to the Guardian that revealed the scope of our Government's secret spying on its citizens. The Government responded that what it was doing was legal and that it wasn;t really listening to our phone calls or reading our emails and instant messages but rather collecting all of them in case it needed to spy on them at a later date; at which time, it said, it would check back with the secret FISA court. All of this communication with itself would be secret and yet transparent. The legality was based on its secret interpretation of a law passed by Congress . Others have argued that while it might be legal it might not be constitutional and the Supreme Court has not weighed in as yet. Again as far as I know Mr. Snowden did not attempt to sell the documents to anyone and has put his own life and welfare at risk. President Obama has said we need a national debate on the how to balance security and our freedoms and privacy values. Probably the only way we will have such a debate is by the actions of iconoclastic whistle blowers or leakers like Mr. Snowden. Perhaps rather than being exposed to punishment he should be nominated for the medal of freedom

    June 23, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. lulz

    congrats america! privacy index just put you alongside china as one of the worst surveillance states in the world!


    June 23, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. dan

    $30 million per year paid in bribes to the Los Angeles Superior Court Judges.

    SBX211 Section 5:
    This bill would provide that no governmental entity, or officer or employee of a governmental entity, shall incur any liability or be subject to prosecution or disciplinary action because of benefits provided to a judge under the official action of a governmental entity prior to the effective date of this bill on the ground that those benefits were not authorized under law.

    June 23, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  14. DJ in the orange curtain

    I'm with the so called Progressives that booed. It is the duty of any American working in Govt to be a whistle blower if they find the Constitution is being broken. It started with Bush and now it's getting worse. The Patriot Act needs to be repealed before USA turns into a full blown Police State. We already have the highest % of population in Prison any where in the world.

    June 23, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  15. Getoverit

    Too bad it took Liberals so long to realize what's a cancer Peloosi is to this country.

    June 23, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  16. maskddingo

    Clearly congress does not represent the feelings of the nation. This is their only job, so congress is a complete failure. Boos are being kind.

    June 23, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  17. Robert Morales

    I agree with her. The guy is nothing but a traitor. He not only violated an oath to protect the secrets of the U.S.A., but put Americans in danger.

    June 23, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  18. USAPeasant

    Lol awesome, now even liberals know that the Witch of the House is a traitor that is guilty of committing espioange agaisnt innocent Americans.

    June 23, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  19. sonnie3

    She get booed for lots of things she does.
    Spending money is one of them. Money we don't have and have to go in debt 85 billion dollars a month
    We have inept morons in congress to day??

    June 23, 2013 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  20. Pete

    Pelosi has something your republican speaker Boehner or most of your ilk don't have is balls..Remember Snowden leaked classified intel against his country which the way he ran obviously its not anymore..And if he goes to Russia or S.America than we'll see how extradition goes and if the countrys he's in agrees with it..He's a traitor to us all and you out there who agree with his act should have your heads examined because he sold out our country to make a point ,a very stupid point that should of been taken up when he worked for his old bosses the CIA,not foriegn countrys that may turn this Intel eventually against us!!

    June 23, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  21. S.B. Stein

    There is nothing out there showing he went to Congress with his "evidence" asking for more oversight to be done. If he had done that and been booed or thrown out, then it might have been less bad.

    June 23, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  22. Owlix

    He told the truth. He should be punished to the fullest extent.

    June 24, 2013 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
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