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Jimmy Carter Calls Snowden Leak Ultimately "Beneficial" 424

Posted by timothy
from the in-his-time-nsa-just-sold-cookies-and-helped-tourists dept.
eldavojohn writes "According to RT, the 39th president of the United States made several statements worth noting at a meeting in Atlanta. Carter said that 'America has no functioning democracy at this moment' and 'the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far.' The second comment sounded like Carter predicted the future would look favorably upon Snowden's leaks — at least those concerning domestic spying in the United States — as he said: '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.' It may be worth noting that, stemming from Zurcher v. Stanford Daily, Jimmy Carter signed the Privacy Protection Act of 1980 into law and that Snowden has received at least one nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize."
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Jimmy Carter Calls Snowden Leak Ultimately "Beneficial"

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  • by NickDanger3rdEye (1206476) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @10:53AM (#44317617)

    Jimmy Carter.

    • by GeekWithAKnife (2717871) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @10:54AM (#44317635)

      Mod parent up.

      We need more brave politicians to finally speak their minds about this instead of fearing the surveillance machine.
      • by RoknrolZombie (2504888) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @10:59AM (#44317693)
        Unfortunately, I suspect the only reason he's spoken up about it is that he doesn't have anything left to lose. He's no longer in the public eye, and I can't even think of the last time that Carter may have been politically relevant. HOPEFULLY his opinion means enough to other people to effect positive change...but I doubt it.
        • by plover (150551) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @11:45AM (#44318253) Homepage Journal

          Are you a troll, or just completely unaware of what takes place on this planet?

          Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Price for his efforts at various hot spots around the world, including Palestine, Cuba, Korea, Egypt, Ireland, Haiti, Venezuela, and the Sudan (and I'm sure I'm missing some others.) He's poured himself into Habitat for Humanity. He created the Carter Center, which works for human rights around the world, peace, and is even fighting preventable diseases.

          While he may have not accomplished much of note while in office, Carter has far and away been the most active, most influential, and best ex-president this country's ever seen.

          • by ubrgeek (679399) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @12:06PM (#44318481)
            > most influential

            I don't know about that. After all, if it wasn't for Nixon the press wouldn't be able to append "gate" to every perceived transgression.
          • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @12:30PM (#44318755) Journal

            Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Price

            So was Obama. And Kissinger. And Yasser Arafat.

            • by plover (150551) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @01:04PM (#44319187) Homepage Journal

              And what was wrong with the committee awarding Peace Prizes to Kissinger and Arafat? Kissinger negotiated the ceasefire in Vietnam, and pulled our troops out. Vietnam is a far more peaceful place now than it was before Kissinger signed the agreement. It maybe didn't work out so well for the "American interests" in the region, but when you look at those interests, we were only there because of the fear of the commies and the "domino effect". Those were really crappy reasons to enter someone else's civil war. Arafat had to do some serious wheeling and dealing within his own organizations and gave up a lot just to get permission to go to Oslo with Rabin, and the resultant accords were a huge step toward peace.

              Maybe none of these efforts has ever created a permanent lasting land of happy peace-loving unicorns full of good will hugs, but the world isn't that kind of place. But we do know it was made better for many people due to their efforts.

              However I completely agree with you that Obama was awarded it merely for being elected, kind of like a kid getting a trophy for attending baseball practice. I agree that giving it to him did nothing to hold up the reputation of the award. But it still shouldn't diminish Carter's accomplishments any.

              • Kissinger only negotiated after realizing the US would ultimately lose the war. Kissinger was the person that convinced Nixon the war could be won instead of a peace deal and withdrawal of troops as Nixon had promised during his campaign. Oddly enough at the end of the war, the deal agreed upon was essentially the same deal offered to the US years earlier, only Nixon and Kissinger had the hubris and lack of empathy to sacrifice thousands of Americans and nearly half a million innocent Vietnamese lives.

                So w

        • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Thursday July 18, 2013 @12:21PM (#44318635) Homepage Journal

          He's no longer in the public eye, and I can't even think of the last time that Carter may have been politically relevant.

          As far as I can tell, he spends his resources doing mostly non-political stuff - building homes for poor people with Habitat for Humanity and such. That's a more mature stance than trying to do good with a political system that's based on violence.

        • by sjames (1099) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @04:42PM (#44321591) Homepage

          Actually, he's probably been one of our best ex-presidents. Rather than making commercials or getting back into under the table business deals, he has worked with Habitat for Humanity and has overseen democratic elections around the world. When he says we have no functioning democracy, he says it from a professional viewpoint.

      • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @11:03AM (#44317735) Homepage Journal

        Mod parent up.
        We need more brave politicians to finally speak their minds about this instead of fearing the surveillance machine.

        Bear in mind, Carter was a one term president, widely despised by Republicans and effectively abandoned by his own party -- unable to get many of his programs through a congress controlled by the Democratic Party (which at the time still contained a lot of southern social conservatives.)

        He has worn the mantle of elder statesman and sage well since his time in office. Quite possibly one of the best educated and most greatly concerned for the american people of US presidents of the past century.

        • He's a Democrat - of course the Republicans despise him.

        • by SirGarlon (845873) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @11:19AM (#44317941)

          To be fair, I don't think anyone who was president from 1976-1980 could have been re-elected. Those were hard years for the US: high inflation, unemployment, the OPEC oil embargo, the bitter and recent memory of Vietnam, and the Iranian hostage crisis. That's just off the top of my head. No one could have solved all those problems at once, and it's easier to blame the President than to propose a solution.

          • by fuzzybunny (112938) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @11:30AM (#44318077) Homepage Journal

            It should also be mentioned that most of those issues were caused by factors beyond the control of Carter and his administration (eg. the Iranian revolution and hostage crisis had their roots in the 1956 Iranian coup, stagflation was a global phenomenon which in the US was largely the result of the Nixon shock).

            Then there's the whole October Surprise [wikipedia.org] topic; even without going into wingnut conspiracy mode, there's some things in there to make anyone go "hmm".

            Arguably, Carter ushered in a lot of improvements - Camp David, the departments of energy and education, a nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviets despite massive cold war tensions.

            And last but not least, I can't see anyone arguing about the fact that the guy has (and had) integrity - which is saying a lot in a President.

            • by smooth wombat (796938) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @11:51AM (#44318345) Homepage Journal

              You missed the fact that Carter is the only President, next to Clinton, who didn't pay lip-service to peace in the Middle East. He is the only one to get Israel and a neighbor to sign a peace treaty and formal recognition which exists to this day without issue.

              The Clinton issue was a failure by Arafat to pull the trigger and sign the deal for various reasons.

              As an aside, Bush 1 did stick it to Israel by stopping the U.S. backing loan guarantees when Israel kept thumbing its nose at the U.S. by illegally confiscating Palestinian land and settling its own people there. He did eventually reinstate the U.S taxpayer being on the hook but only after Israel backed down (for a time. They're back it with a vengeance as we speak).

              • by dkleinsc (563838)

                Bill Clinton also negotiated a peace settlement between Israel and Jordan in 1994 that has continued to hold up for almost 20 years now.

                The primary reasons the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations fell apart were (1) Arafat wasn't willing to sign a deal without a right of return, and (2) Yitzak Rabin was killed by an Israeli Jew who believed that the entirety of the West Bank and Gaza should be part of Israel. Since then, peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine have been mostly a joke - Al Jazeera got t

        • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @11:20AM (#44317949)

          Carter had this little problem. He told the truth. He didn't secretly swap arms for hostages.

          These sorts of things don't make you popular as President.

        • by Geste (527302) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @11:26AM (#44318025)
          Whatever his tribulations, Carter is the last US president that I had any respect for, and my esteem has increased with time..
        • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @12:13PM (#44318545)

          Mod parent up.
          We need more brave politicians to finally speak their minds about this instead of fearing the surveillance machine.

          Bear in mind, Carter was a one term president, widely despised by Republicans and effectively abandoned by his own party -- unable to get many of his programs through a congress controlled by the Democratic Party (which at the time still contained a lot of southern social conservatives.)

          He has worn the mantle of elder statesman and sage well since his time in office. Quite possibly one of the best educated and most greatly concerned for the american people of US presidents of the past century.

          Carter always was concerned. Not only for the American people, but for people everywhere. His "Sunday School" image wasn't just a posture.

          That, in a way was his downfall. Both Carter and Ford were pretty decent guys. About the only election where I thought it was a choice between who to vote for rather than whom to vote against. But they were both pretty ineffective overall. Carter did his part in reducing tensions between Israel and the Arabs (especially Egypt), and both Carter and Ford quietly kept the Evil Empire of the USSR at bay as it slowly ground itself to powder before finally collapsing at Reagan's feet.

          But evidently nice guys finish last. Reagan didn't give a shit about other countries feelings, and, ironically, they respected him more for it. Bush I wasn't the disaster I'd feared, although he didn't actually do much better than Carter or Ford. Clinton was a sleazebag, but presided over one of the most peaceful and prosperous eras in US history. Then there was Dubya, who had been muttering about attacking Iraq almost from the moment he took office. Iraq was going to get slapped down anyway, since while they might have lacked usable WMDs, they had been getting more and more obnoxious in their probes against the no-fly zones even before Clinton departed. If we'd just waited another year or so, we could have gone in with the world at our backs instead of the world backing off. Which brings us to Obama, who was supposed to undo the excesses of Bush II, but has been looking more and more like Bush II revarnished.

          In the mean time, while presidents came and went, the security paranoia infrastructure did not. J. Edgar Hoover was a nasty piece of work, although his spiritual predecessors were no angels. Who exactly inherited his excesses isn't totally clear to me, although the name "William Casey" seems to ring some bells. And the faceless beetle-like men developed Echelon, Prism and other programs of lesser fame. The lines between internal investigations (FBI) and external ones (CIA) blurred. They don't use the name "Total Information Awareness" any more, but that is the obvious goal.

      • by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Thursday July 18, 2013 @11:04AM (#44317755) Journal

        Mod parent up. We need more brave politicians to finally speak their minds about this instead of fearing the surveillance machine.

        What are you talking about? There are plenty of politicians speaking their minds about Snowden -- but I don't know if I'd call them "brave." Looking at just the previous administration, George W. Bush [rt.com]:

        I think he damaged the security of the country

        And Dick Cheney [huffingtonpost.com]:

        I think he's a traitor

        Of course, as another poster mentioned, they've got nothing to lose same as Carter.

        • by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @11:15AM (#44317889) Homepage Journal

          cheny & gwb got nothing to lose from their legacies being labeled as illegal and as herding the country towards "non-functioning democracy". sure as fuck they got plenty of points to lose. if either of them said that what the programs are doing is wrong they would be saying that they were wrong and not just wrong but unconstitutional and as extension actual traitors to the country, so what are they gonna do? label snowden as traitor, of course... just like they didn't like a lot the leaks which effectively tell that they're war criminals.

        • by ackthpt (218170)

          Mod parent up.

          We need more brave politicians to finally speak their minds about this instead of fearing the surveillance machine.

          What are you talking about? There are plenty of politicians speaking their minds about Snowden -- but I don't know if I'd call them "brave." Looking at just the previous administration, George W. Bush [rt.com]:

          I think he damaged the security of the country

          And Dick Cheney [huffingtonpost.com]:

          I think he's a traitor

          Of course, as another poster mentioned, they've got nothing to lose same as Carter.

          Yeah, well Bush and Cheney are like two criminals who've never been tried for the scan of engaging the US in Iraq. I can't see them finding a silver lining in any of this. Somewhere along the line the Bush Whitehouse decided to behave like J. Edgar Hoover, sans dresses.

        • by istartedi (132515) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @11:17AM (#44317919) Journal

          From the article [huffingtonpost.com] you cited:

          "I think he has committed crimes in effect by violating agreements given the position he had," he continued. "I think it's one of the worst occasions in my memory of somebody with access to classified information doing enormous damage to the national security interests of the United States."

          The best thing to do with the Cheney quote is forget Cheney said it about Snowden. Re-read the quote, and imagine somebody else said it about Cheney. Which version rings more true?

        • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @11:20AM (#44317957)

          Reminds me of an old Cold War joke.

          Russian: You think your country is so great. Why?

          American: In my country I can go on TV, in front of millions of people, and call the president of the United States an idiot.

          Russian: So what, in my country I too can go on TV, in front of millions of people, and call the president of the United States an idiot.

          P.S. At the time that was true in the United States. It was a less dangerous time. The biggest problem we faced was nuclear annihilation in less time than it takes to eat dinner. Now we face guys who put black powder in pressure cookers.

          • by anagama (611277)

            P.S. At the time that was true in the United States. It was a less dangerous time. The biggest problem we faced was nuclear annihilation in less time than it takes to eat dinner. Now we face guys who put black powder in pressure cookers.

            This has got to be in the running for the most insightful quip of the year. Says it all.

          • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @11:44AM (#44318245) Homepage Journal

            Reminds me of an old Cold War joke.

            Russian: You think your country is so great. Why?

            American: In my country I can go on TV, in front of millions of people, and call the president of the United States an idiot.

            Russian: So what, in my country I too can go on TV, in front of millions of people, and call the president of the United States an idiot.

            P.S. At the time that was true in the United States. It was a less dangerous time. The biggest problem we faced was nuclear annihilation in less time than it takes to eat dinner. Now we face guys who put black powder in pressure cookers.

            One of the things I appreciate about Bill Maher and Stephen Colbert, keep us laughing at our own foibles, don't ignore those foibles, but recognize the idiocy of how we behave as parties, people and country. Under the Bush administration I felt we were approaching something vaguely Stalinist, where laughing at our mistakes was felt to be unpatriotic - when France challenged our information and motives for going into Iraq we had people re-naming French Fries as Freedom Fries - I think that was a very worrying thing and showed an extreme depth of stupidity. Turned out France was right to do so. Questioning government is the most patriotic thing we can do, not call ourselves pretend PATRIOTS and wrap ourselves up in the flag.

            I do agree with Carter, the exposure of this sort of thing is healthy. Perhaps the government needs to do some of these things, but not under a cloak of double secrecy.

        • by Creepy (93888)

          Dick Cheney (along with Karl Rove, Richard Armitage, and others) committed the exact same crime under the exact same act as Snowden did, specifically by giving information about something of national security (Valerie Plame's CIA cover) to someone that wasn't supposed to have it (the news). That makes him a hypocrite. George W. Bush turned the ECHELON successor PRISM against US citizens using his pet policy of the Patriot Act, but he is correct - Snowden probably did damage the security of the country by re

      • by PraiseBob (1923958) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @11:24AM (#44318009)
        Here is the relevant message from a former Senator:

        Mr. Snowden,

        Provided you have not leaked information that would put in harms way any intelligence agent, I believe you have done the right thing in exposing what I regard as massive violation of the United States Constitution.

        Having served in the United States Senate for twelve years as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, the Armed Services Committee and the Judiciary Committee, I think I have a good grounding to reach my conclusion.

        I wish you well in your efforts to secure asylum and encourage you to persevere.

        Kindly acknowledge this message, so that I will know it reached you.

        Regards,
        Gordon J. Humphrey
        Former United States Senator
        New Hampshire


        Here is another of his messages:

        Mr. Greenwald,

        Yes. It was I who sent the email message to Edward Snowden, thanking him for exposing astonishing violations of the US Constitution and encouraging him to persevere in the search for asylum.

        To my knowledge, Mr. Snowden has disclosed only the existence of a program and not details that would place any person in harm's way. I regard him as a courageous whistle-blower.

        I object to the monumentally disproportionate campaign being waged by the U.S. Government against Edward Snowden, while no effort is being made to identify, remove from office and bring to justice those officials who have abused power, seriously and repeatedly violating the Constitution of the United States and the rights of millions of unsuspecting citizens.

        Americans concerned about the growing arrogance of our government and its increasingly menacing nature should be working to help Mr. Snowden find asylum. Former Members of Congress, especially, should step forward and speak out.

        Regards,
        Gordon Humphrey
      • by Darth Snowshoe (1434515) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @11:47AM (#44318289)

        Can I just say, that RT article provided no context whatsoever to this quote? Does Mr. Carter believe "America has no functioning democracy at this moment" because
        a.) intrusive, pervasive domestic spying supresses minority views
        b.) gerrymandering, incessant filibusters, etc have thwarted the evident will of the majority
        c.) astroturfing, the Citizens United decision, opacity in finance of politics have warped the nature of small-d democracy in America?
        d.) limiting access to the ballot, mandating ID at polling stations, etc have eroded the enfranchisement of voters?
        e.) both major political parties are beholden to corporate and private money such that the outcome, whoever wins, is largely the same?
        f.) the press, beset by false equivalencies, threatened constantly by acquisitions and downsizing, discouraged from publishing radical stances or asking difficult questions of the politicians on whose access its livelihood rests, has broken its compact with the public?
        g.) all of the above?

        Surely Mr. Carter is an expressive and thoughtful speaker, whether you agree or disagree with his views. I'm certain if you found the full content of what he said around his "no functioning democracy" statement, it would be far more illuminating than what was included in RT.

         

  • Unfortunately (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @10:53AM (#44317619)

    Jimmy Carter is no longer president of the United States.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 18, 2013 @11:05AM (#44317767)

      It's been said a few times by other people, but there goes: Jimmy Carter is pretty much the best former president the U.S.A. have ever had. Come to think of it, just like Obama might be remembered as the best future president the U.S.A. ever had.

      Too bad we are living in the present.

  • by PPH (736903) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @10:58AM (#44317687)

    Give Snowden Obama's prize. He's not using it.

  • by schneidafunk (795759) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @11:06AM (#44317777)
    I had not heard of these before and had to look it up. The privacy act ONLY applies to newspaper reporters, stemming from this incident:

    "Respondents, a student newspaper that had published articles and photographs of a clash between demonstrators and police at a hospital, and staff members, brought this action under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against, among others, petitioners, law enforcement and district attorney personnel, claiming that a search pursuant to a warrant issued on a judge's finding of probable cause that the newspaper (which was not involved in the unlawful acts) possessed photographs and negatives revealing the identities of demonstrators who had assaulted police officers at the hospital had deprived respondents of their constitutional rights." source [findlaw.com]

    On a side note, when explaining the Privacy Act to the general public, Jimmy Carter is probably the only president ever to make this statement: "We have reduced the size of these Government files by more than 10 percent."
  • ...many American friends and relatives of mine would be agape at my alleged lack of political insight when I said: "Jimmy Carter was one of the best presidents the USA ever had". And now...
    • Re:Some years ago (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tnk1 (899206) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @11:49AM (#44318315)

      The thing is... he wasn't one of our best Presidents. He might well be very smart and well intentioned, and those are good things, but they don't by themselves make you a great leader.

      I'm not a big fan of FDR, but I can tell you that if it had been FDR in office at the end of the 70's and not Carter, Ronald Reagan would have died an ex-Governor of California. FDR knew how to get stuff done, Carter, not so much.

      Obama is sort of coming in the same as Carter, although as our first black president, he's already made the history books. There's nothing wrong with Obama as a person, he's just not a very good President. Presidents who are good at their jobs don't just have good intentions, they get shit done. It doesn't matter if they were dealt a shit hand by the past administrations. FDR inherited a Great Depression. Lincoln inherited a Civil War. They took care of business.

      Aside from Carter being in love with leftist dictators, I actually respect him as a statesman, but let's not start re-writing history here.

  • by hottoh (540941) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @11:14AM (#44317881)
    He is more likable since he was president than when he was president.
  • by jd.schmidt (919212) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @12:20PM (#44318621)

    No President is better described by those words than Jimmy Carter. He really has been a good person to a fault.

    One of the criticism I most remember about him was his selling the Presidential Yacht. He did so to try to set an example of austerity, and of course save money. But he was criticized, perhaps justly, because that yacht had been one of the better tools for the President to influence congress. Apparently it was a big deal to get invited on a yachting day with the President and all that one on one time would allow the President to influence votes.

    Carter however felt that Congress should just vote for things because they were right. He was always trying to appeal to the better part of human nature. In some ways Obama is similar, he doesn't really schmooze with congress well, certainly not in the way Ron, George, Bill and George did!

    I have come to feel we get the leaders we deserve all too often.

  • Yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whitroth (9367) <whitroth&5-cent,us> on Thursday July 18, 2013 @12:53PM (#44319055) Homepage

    As a President, I really disliked him, as he ramped up the military, when it really wasn't necessary, and played into the hands of the Republicans....

    On the other hand, he's the greatest ex-President this country has had in my lifetime, standing for, well, what the US is *supposed* to stand for, and *claims* to stand for.

                              mark

  • by Sir_Eptishous (873977) on Thursday July 18, 2013 @12:57PM (#44319103) Homepage
    Carter put solar panels on the Whitehouse.
    Reagan took them down
    Here we are 30-some years later still jacking off over renewable energy...
    If anything, Carter was way ahead of his time.
    Every president since has been under heel of the carbon extraction industrial complex.

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