President Obama's speech at NDU disrupted by heckler


President Obama was heckled Thursday by a woman while giving a major national security speech at the National Defense University in Washington.

The anti-war group Code Pink identified the woman as Medea Benjamin, one of its founders, who had received press credentials for the event, according to a statement from the National Defense University,

“When it was apparent this individual would not be deterred by the President’s effort to address her concerns, officials from the National Defense University staff and Base Police asked her to leave and escorted her from the venue,” the statement says. “She has been questioned by Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall police.”

Benjamin began to interrupt the president when he started to speak about closing the detention center at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“There are 102 people on a hunger strike,” she shouted.  “These are desperate people.”

“I’m about to address it, ma’am, but you’ve got to let me speak,” Obama replied.  “I’m about to address it.”

But she persisted and was eventually led away while shouting: “Can you tell the Muslim people their lives are as precious as our lives?” Can you take the drones out of the hands of the CIA … Will you apologize to the thousands of Muslims you have killed?”

Not missing a beat, Obama picked up his speech by saying that Benjamin’s voice is “worth paying attention to.”

“Obviously, I do not agree with much of what she said, and obviously she wasn’t listening to me in much of what I said,” Obama continued. “But these are tough issues, and the suggestion that we can gloss over them is wrong.”


The individual who continued to attempt to interrupt the President’s speech at the National Defense University was given access via the list of media attendees expected. When it was apparent this individual would not be deterred by the President’s effort to address her concerns, officials from the National Defense University staff and Base Police asked her to leave and escorted her from the venue. She has been questioned by Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall police.

This speech was not open to the general public. Attendance for non-media was limited to invited guests from the National Defense University faculty, staff, and student body, along with those invited by the White House.

Please address any additional questions to the White House Press Office.


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  1. Bill Bledsoe on

    President Obama admits to committing a serious crime that is an impeachable offence. He admits to giving the order to execute a citizen of the United States without due process.

    President Obama said;
    “I would have detained and prosecuted al-Awlaki if we captured him before he carried out a plot but we couldn’t. And as president I would have been derelict in my duty had I not authorized the strike that took him out.”

    President Obama also said;
    “For the record I do not believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any US citizen with a drone, or with a shotgun, without due process.”

    President Obama also said;
    “Moreover our laws constrain the power of the president. Even during wartime and I’ve taken an oath to defend the constitution of the United States.”

    I’m not an attorney, but please consider that IMHO President Obama just admitted to an impeachable offense of acting as judge, jury and executioner of a US Citizen.

  2. Generally, I am not a supporter of President Obama and think a large number of citizens could perform his duties far better than he. Regardless of my personal opinion of his many weaknesses and his disturbingly flagrant naïveté, I support his action in this regard.

    Mr. al-Awlaki had left our soil to voluntarily join an organization at war with our country with the stated intention of destroying our country and was in the act of prosecuting that war against the United States when he died.

    If a non-citizen happened to be on our soil and was accused of committing an offense, the same civil protections would be afforded the non-citizen as would be afforded a citizen. Thusly, when a citizen or non citizen conducts war against our country and becomes an enemy combatant, we cannot pick and choose in battle.

    Abraham Lincoln gave orders which resulted in the deaths of more US citizens than all the other wars in which our country has been engaged. He sought and was successful in suppressing a rebellion and keeping our union intact. I submit that a rebellion can be waged by a single person when that person joins a foreign organization bent on the destruction of our country.

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