House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was booed by progressive activists Saturday for defending President Obama on the NSA’s surveillance programs and suggesting that alleged leaker Edward Snowden broke the law.
Speaking in a wide-ranging Q&A session at this year’s Netroots Nation conference, Pelosi said it’s unfair to equate Obama and former President George W. Bush on the issue of surveillance.
“People on the far right are saying oh, this is the fourth term of President Bush,” the California Democrat said. “Absolutely, positively not so.”
As Pelosi was saying the country needs a “balance” between security and privacy, Marc Perkel, a 57-year-old activist from Gilroy, Calif., started shouting at Pelosi during her answer and was escorted out of the room.
“It’s not a balance. It’s not constitutional!” he yelled. “No secret laws!”
Others in the room began shouting as well, saying things like “Leave him alone!” or “That’s what a police state looks like right there!”
The moderator, Zerlina Maxwell, worked to quiet the crowd by saying audience members needed to submit questions via Twitter rather than shouting them out, but Pelosi said she didn’t mind.
“I welcome the challenges that people pose because I think that those questions must be answered,” Pelosi said.
She was further booed when she said Snowden did break the law by leaking the information he revealed.
“As far as Snowden: he did violate the law in terms of releasing those documents,” she said.
Some of the crowd erupted in boos, with one man screaming, “You suck!”