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Beltway Confidential

Liberals rage: Nancy Pelosi a driving force behind defeat of Justin Amash NSA amendment

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Beltway Confidential,National Security,Nancy Pelosi,NSA,Ashe Schow

Left-wing bloggers who normally applaud House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., are stunned by the key role she played in defeating a defense bill amendment that would deny funding for a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program.

Pelosi rounded up House Democrats to oppose the amendment sponsored by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., that would have barred NSA from collecting metadata and telephone records concerning individuals who are not under investigation in connection with terrorism, according to Foreign Policy's The Cable.

"Pelosi had meetings and made a plea to vote against the amendment, and that had a much bigger effect on swing Democratic votes against the amendment than anything [NSA Director Keith] Alexander had to say," a Democratic committee aide told The Cable.

"Had Pelosi not been as forceful as she had been, it's unlikely there would've been more Democrats for the amendment," the aide said.

"Pelosi had a big effect on more middle-of-the road hawkish Democrats who didn't want to be identified with a bunch of lefties [voting for the amendment]," the aide alleged.

"As for the Alexander briefings: Did they hurt? No, but that was not the central force, at least among House Democrats. Nancy Pelosi's political power far outshines that of Keith Alexander's," the aide said.

The Amash amendment was defeated by a vote of 217-205, with 134 Republicans and 83 Democrats opposing it. Ninety-four Republicans and 111 Democrats supported the amendment.

Self-described "progressive" blog news site FireDogLake called Pelosi's role in the amendment's failure "stunning."

"The hypocrisy is stunning. Pelosi was a leading voice against the Patriot Act when Bush was in office, now that a Democrat has the power her principles have vanished and she is actively promoting the destruction of the 4th Amendment of the Constitution," contributor DSWrite wrote.

Pelosi is now circulating a letter to Democrats asking Obama to "explore options which will preserve Americans' privacy and civil liberties, while protecting our national security."

The letter appears to be a way to reconnect with liberals angered by Pelosi's opposition to the Amash amendment and her defense of the NSA surveillance program.

Pelosi was booed at the liberal conference Netroots Nation in June for her support of the NSA spy program.

A spokesman for Pelosi did not respond for a request for comment.

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