Obama 'hijacks' tech executive meeting to make 'PR pitch' on Obamacare website fix instead of dealing with NSA surveillance
'We didn't really care for a PR pitch' about Obamacare, said one executive
The White House telegraphed in advance that the president wanted to talk up his efforts to fix healthcare.gov, but no one in the room was interested
Tech executives gathered in the Roosevelt Room to discuss the NSA's overreach in seizing their digital records
A federal judge ruled Monday that the practice violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantees against unreasonable searches
By David Martosko, U.s. Political Editor
PUBLISHED: 15:59 EST, 17 December 2013 | UPDATED: 16:05 EST, 17 December 2013
During a White House meeting called to brief America's largest tech companies today about government overreach in electronic surveillance, President Barack Obama changed the subject – angering some meeting participants by shifting gears to address the failed launch of healthcare.gov.
'That wasn't what we came for,' a vice-president of a company whose CEO attended told MailOnline. 'We really didn't care for a PR pitch about how the administration is trying to salvage its internal health care tech nightmare.'
One executive said that meeting participants were dead-set against straying from the principal focus of the meeting – the uncomfortable and legally untenable position they are in when the National Security Agency demands access to their digital records.
The White House said in advance that the meeting would include a discussion of healthcare.gov, but the company executive said the only subject that mattered to the participants was the NSA.
'He basically hijacked the meeting,' the executive said. 'We all told the White House that we were only there to talk about what the NSA was up to and how it affects us.'
All smiles: Obama joked with tech executives before focusing on Obamacare and relegating the companies' NSA concerns to second-tier status