During an interview on Meet the Press today, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi addressed the ongoing international manhunt for NSA leaker Edward Snowden. David Gregory played video of Pelosi getting heckled while speaking at the progressive conference Netroots Nation for attacking Snowden. Pelosi dismissed it as a “smattering” of boos in the liberal crowd, and defended President Obama from the accusation on both the left and right that his second term is “the fourth term of President Bush.” She said that claim “couldn’t be farther from the truth.”
Gregory asked Pelosi if the country needs “more Edward Snowdens” to allow the public more insight into the NSA’s surveillance programs. Pelosi responded, “No, I think what we have to do is obey the Constitution of the United States.” She said there is an understanding in Congress that there needs to be a balance between security and liberty, and touted “obstacles” she has pushed for in legislation to prevent gross violations of people’s privacy.
One of the obstacles Pelosi cited was the Privacy and Civil Liberties oversight Board, a board established almost ten years ago that Obama first met with two weeks ago and which had previously only met once during Obama’s entire first term. Pelosi touted action that was taken by Democrats as soon as they took the House in 2006, and defended Obama from the accusation that he’s basically the same as his predecessor.
“When the left or the right wants to say that… President Obama’s the fourth term of President Bush, they couldn’t be farther from the truth. President Bush exercised unfettered, unlimited, presidential discretion for surveillance. Under President Obama… we passed the FISA amendments, which put up obstacles to the federal government doing surveillance, which put oversight, whether it’s inspectors general, whether it’s the Congress of the United States, whether it’s a privacy or civil liberties board… Whether it’s a Democrat or Republican president, we do not want any president to have what President Bush had.”
Gregory asked Pelosi how important it is to track Snowden down and “make him face justice.” Pelosi first shifted to criticizing national security contractors that work for the government, before making the bold assertion that Snowden has been “threatening, in any event, to share information with Russia and China.”
Watch the video below, courtesy of NBC:
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