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There ended up being two speakers today at the National Defense University in DC. The first, as planned, was President Obama. The other, speaking for perhaps a few minutes in total, was Madea Benjamin, a heckler from Code Pink.

Benjamin is a cofounder of the organization, a non-profit activist organization focused on limiting American military intervention overseas. Last year, the group announced a new focus on drone strikes — and Benjamin just released a book on the topic.

A well-known figure in the nation's capital, her appearance today elicited some surprise that she was allowed in. In February, for example, Benjamin and other activists interrupted the Senate confirmation hearings for John Brennan. For that speech, Benjamin gave a fake name. (It's her trick.)

At three points during today's speech, Benjamin began yelling from the audience.

The first time, Obama had just begun speaking about his renewed plans to close the detainment center at Guantanamo Bay. Benjamin, as seen above, confronted the president on a long-standing moratorium on transferring Yemenese prisoner from the facility. "Why don't you sit down, and I'll tell you exactly what I'm going to do," the president said — and he did, continuing his speech in which he mentioned that the moratorium would be lifted.

Two more times Benjamin jumped in; each time, the president responded with surprising graciousness. At one point he noted that he was going off-script to respond.

After — or, perhaps, during — the third interruption, Benjamin was removed from the audience. About a minute later, the president wrapped up his remarks, too.

Photo: Picture of Benjamin being escorted out taken by Rosie Gray.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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