Netroots Nation hasn’t been overly defined by security issues, and it hasn’t centered around massive keynote speeches. The exceptions came during the Saturday lunch session, when activists grabbed Sierra Club-sponsored sandwiches and Pepsi products and watched Rep. Nancy Pelosi get grilled by blogger Zerlina Maxwell. She was the only member of the Democratic leadership in either house to appear at the conference.
So she got the NSA questions. They came in the form of submissions from the audience (around half the questions, supposedly, were about the scandal) but they got a response when hecklers started asking Pelosi about the story. She rushed to defend the administration from charges of Cheney-ism…
“It’s so important to subject this to harsh scrutiny,” said Pelosi. “You should reject any notion that President Obama’s actions have anything to do with what President Bush was doing.”
Meanwhile, security guards were dragging Perkel away. “Leave him alone!” shouted a few activists. “No secret courts!” yelled Perkel as he moved out of the room. “No secret laws!”
It felt like a small-scale interruption; Perkel and his co-hecklers represented maybe 0.1 percent of the crowd. But Pelosi went back to the ire well, insisting that “as far as [it goes with Edward] Snowden, you may disagree with me, but he did violate the law in terms of releasing those documents. The fact is, we have to have a balance between security and privacy.”
Finally, Pelosi got a kind of bailout. An activist near the front of the room yelled about security consultants. “You’re absolutely right!” said Pelosi. “I’m with you babe, all the way! If you couldn’t hear her, the real problem, she said, is outsourcing our national security. I get criticized by this community a lot. [Former NSA director Mike] O’Connell worked at Booz Allen Hamilton, came in, worked in the federal government, exatled to the positions he was, hired consultants galore, contractors galore from Booz Allen Hamilton. And now he’s at Booz Allen again. This really is astounding.”
In a neat twist, Pelosi had turned the conversation back to the threats of the private sector, and of Bush administration outrages….
More at the link. Goddess bless the lady, I wish us Democrats had a thousand (or even a couple dozen) high-visibility professionals with that kind of talent.