Jimmy Carter: Snowden Leak “Beneficial” to US

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Above: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP)

‘America has no functioning democracy’

Former US President Jimmy Carter lambasted US intelligence methods as undemocratic and described Edward Snowden’s NSA leak as “beneficial” for the country.

Carter lashed out at the US political system when the issue of the previously top-secret NSA surveillance program was touched upon at the Atlantic Bridge meeting on Tuesday in Atlanta, Georgia.

America has no functioning democracy at this moment,” Carter said, according to Der Spiegel.

He also believes the spying-scandal is undermining democracy around the world, as people become increasingly suspicious of US internet platforms, such as Google and Facebook. While such mediums have normally been associated with freedom of speech and have recently become a major driving force behind emerging democratic movements, fallout from the NSA spying scandal has dented their credibility.

It’s not the first time Carter has criticized US intelligence policies. In a previous interview with  CNN, he said the NSA leaks signified that “the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far.” He added that although Snowden violated US law, he may have ultimately done good for the country.

I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial.”

Jimmy Carter was President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. After leaving office, he founded the Carter Center, an NGO advocating human rights. The ex-president’s human rights credentials won him Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

Carter has frequently criticized his successors in the White House. Last year, he condemned the Obama administration for the use of drone attacks in his article “A Cruel and Unusual Record” published in the New York Times.

  • I don’t know the real motive behind Snowden’s actions, but I think that Pres. Carter may be right. A bad thing can turn into good if so directed.
    Whether or not we lose our rights to our government or another doesn’t have to be the issue. Fear and paranoia feed the worst in us, not the best.

  • President Carter is someone I think we can trust

  • President Carter is absolutely someone that we can trust. One of the happiest days of my life was the day I met him (actually for the second time). Shaking hands with him is like getting a hug from God. He looks you straight in the eve, calls you by name, and makes you feel like the most important person in the world. A few months after that meeting, I had the chance to read his book, “Our Endangered Values” and saw him describe why he does that. He actually believes that God arranges every meeting and that the other person in the room with him is the most important person in the world at that very moment. He said that was the he conducted himself as a Sunday School teacher, a state senator, governor of Georgia, and President of the Untied States. I suspect that will be how he conducts himself until the day he dies and well beyond. I wish there were more like him and that we had appreciated him more when we had him in office.

  • Carol Provence

    an honest man with a good heart…few wanted to listen…a country that chose denial over reality…

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  • Tyrion Lanister

    Absolutely true.This is an exercise of true democracy and democracy shall be renewed and refreshed with the life’s of many operators and agents in other countries. A sad but necessary loss…