June 3, 2014
Nancy Pelosi was caught in an embarrassing moment and forced to bumble a response when confronted by teenage activist Andrew Demeter about the NSA’s mass surveillance program.
Asked why she supported the NSA’s “ubiquitous and illegal data collection,” Pelosi seemed unsteady in her response, remarking, “I, I, do not, I have questions about the metadata collection that they were, uh, collecting unless they had a reason to do so, so I found, uh, so I was one, I didn’t, I didn’t support, Amash – that resolution – I didn’t think that was the appropriate resolution – but I do think that the burden is on the, uh, department and I have fought them for years on the wide swath that they have put out there.”
Demeter, a former Infowars Nightly News guest, followed up by remarking, “You did vote for a bill to continue funding for the NSA though,” to which Pelosi responded, “Yeah of course, I don’t think we should not fund the National Security Agency, no, they do many many things.”
“Isn’t the NSA a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment?” asked Demeter, a question which Pelosi sidestepped by asserting that the NSA performed many different functions. The former Speaker of the House then blamed the Bush administration for going “too far” after 9/11.
Pelosi has not been shy in expressing her vehement support for NSA surveillance programs. During a Netroots Nation conference in California last year, the House Minority Leader was booed by the audience for asserting that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden broke the law. When an activist began shouting at Pelosi, he was escorted from the room.
Demeter got the opportunity to meet Pelosi as a result of winning the StudentCam documentary competition, but had initially been promised an introduction to Senator Harry Reid. Demeter had planned to hand Reid a copy of the constitution in response to the Nevada Senator’s characterization of Cliven Bundy supporters as domestic terrorists.
“Only once I posed my question to Pelosi did I overtly display my phone and capture her reaction of pure confusion,” said Demeter, adding that he was later asked by a C-SPAN staffer if he planned on posting the video to YouTube. When Demeter asked why it mattered, the staffer responded, “We wouldn’t want to damage C-SPAN’s relationship with Leader Pelosi and/or her office.”
After a back and forth email exchange with the C-SPAN employee, Demeter was finally able to obtain the full length footage of the confrontation.
“If I — a shy, socially inept high-school student — can expose on a global scale the paradox that is politics, by asking nothing more than a question, then so too can you,” said Demeter.