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Jimmy Carter: Snowden Disclosures Are 'Good For Americans To Know' 289

Posted by Soulskill
from the easy-for-him-to-say dept.
McGruber writes: "Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter defended the disclosures by fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden on Monday, saying revelations that U.S. intelligence agencies were collecting meta-data of Americans' phone calls and e-mails have been 'probably constructive in the long run.' 'I think it's wrong,' President Carter said of the NSA program. 'I think it's an intrusion on one of the basic human rights of Americans, is to have some degree of privacy if we don't want other people to read what we communicate.'" It's important to note that Carter doesn't believe Snowden should necessarily get a pass for his actions. Carter said, "I think it's inevitable that he should be prosecuted and I think he would be prosecuted, [if he comes back to the U.S.] But I don't think he ought to be executed as a traitor or any kind of extreme punishment like that." Nevertheless, Carter thinks NSA surveillance has gotten out of control. "We've gone a long way down the road of violating Americans' basic civil rights, as far as privacy is concerned." He added, "For the last two or three years, when I want to write a highly personal letter to a foreign leader, or even some American leaders, I hand-write it and mail it, because I feel that my telephone calls and my email are being monitored, and there are some things I just don’t want anybody to know except me and my wife."
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Jimmy Carter: Snowden Disclosures Are 'Good For Americans To Know'

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  • by wiredlogic (135348) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @01:15PM (#46575275)

    What does President Carter have to hide? Must be some sort of terrorist if he wants to communicate privately. We should get a government security detail to monitor this dissident ASAP.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @01:24PM (#46575389)

    I'm glad that Mr. Carter is so concerned about the basic human rights of Americans. I would, however, urge him to explain to me how the basic human rights of Americans differ from the basic human rights of other humans...

    Seriously, all of the recent news about the NSA basically read "oh, we will take better care of US citizens", but the fact that they explicitly mention the "basic human rights of Americans" or "US citizens" probably implies "we'll continue as before spying on our friends over in Europe and elsewhere"...

  • My 0.02 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @01:26PM (#46575411)
    I'm glad to hear Carter's stance on NSA and spying but I'm deeply disappointed that he stopped short of exoneration for Snowden. In my mind, Snowden is a patriot. No country should sacrifice liberty for security. When this happens, the terrorists win. Yes, they win and win big.
  • by fuzznutz (789413) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @01:32PM (#46575473)
    Jimmy Carter is the best ex-president we've ever had.
  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @01:37PM (#46575505)

    Ah yes, Obama, our weak totalitarian king community organizer who is controlled by nazi tree-hugging muslim pastors.

    Did I get everything that's wrong with Obama? Or am I missing the fear du jour?

    I think you forgot to play the race card.

    And he forgot to call Obama a "socialist". Also some kind of shot at "Obamacare" is always called for in such matters.

  • by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @01:37PM (#46575515)

    I would, however, urge him to explain to me how the basic human rights of Americans differ from the basic human rights of other humans...

    Well, in the context of the NSA it goes like this: In the USA there is a framework in place that permits The Man to spy on an Americans (subpoenas, warrants), so if The Man wants to spy he needs to work within that legal framework.

    There's no such framework in place for The Man to spy on alleged baddies in foreign nations - So in that sense, the rights of Americans are different from the rights of foreigners.

  • Re:Oh, how cute (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kheldan (1460303) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @01:38PM (#46575517) Journal
    Oh for fuck's sake don't be such a jerk about this. Carter may not be anywhere near the best President we've had in this country, but he was President, and as such his making statements like these publicly actually does mean something, and I for one am glad he's come out and said what he had to say. Furthermore I suspect there are other notable people who'd like to follow suit but didn't want to be the first one to do so. 'Bout damned time, I say.
  • by Tumbleweed (3706) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @01:44PM (#46575571)

    Politicians are quick to say the NSA has gone too far, but none of them have the balls to say Snowden should be pardoned. Grow some balls. He apparently tried several times to bring his concerns to his superiors, only to be shut down. If he didn't do what he did, we would not know what we know, or even be having this discussion. There's no need to make him a martyr. He did what was right.

  • Re:My 0.02 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @01:49PM (#46575623)

    Jimmy Carter's fault has always been that he wants fairness and "the right thing" not merely what's popular or "should be" right. Reagan's popularity was in large part because he didn't care that much about fairness, he wanted what "should be" right for him, his cronies, and his country, and everyone else was expected to get out of the way and take care of themselves.

    I'm with Carter's view, though. Snowden should face trial, because that's the appropriate response for distributing confidential information without permission. A fair and impartial trial would most likely acknowledge that he broke laws and agreements, but exonerate him because he had no obviously better alternative. It's also a good place to put the whole thing under close public inspection. And public inspection is one of the cornerstones of democracy, just as keeping everything hidden is a hallmark of the police state.

    Unforfunately, at the moment, the best we seem to be able to offer Snowden is a fair and impartial conviction.

  • Re:Oh, how cute (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iserlohn (49556) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @01:55PM (#46575671) Homepage

    Carter was a good president, probably the one of the best, that just happened to be not as good at politics.

  • Re:Oh, how cute (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarkOx (621550) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @01:56PM (#46575679) Journal

    Right, Whatever you think of Carter one of the common defenses jerks like Obama hide behind and lots of other people is, "the realities of the office."

    And typically is pretty hard to counter argument because very few of us have any where near the information privilege the President does, and probably none can really understand the responsibility. However someone who has been President can; so that it cuts that argument off at the knees.

    Carter condemning the surveillance, and calling the Snowden disclosures good for Americans, helps expose the "national security" lie.

  • Re:I hate that (Score:5, Insightful)

    by N0Man74 (1620447) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @01:59PM (#46575715)

    I hate it when Jimmy Carter and I agree on anything.

    I hate it when Jimmy Carter and I agree with you on anything.

    But seriously, the Carter hate is not entirely fair. Some bad things happened while he was in office, but he had some notable accomplishments too.

    I think that it's fair to say that he was a much better human being than he was a politician. However, I think we would be better off with a few more Carters around.

  • by jez9999 (618189) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @01:59PM (#46575717) Homepage Journal

    I agree, this is a serious cop-out on Carter's part. Either you think the info shouldn't have been released and Snowden should be prosecuted, or you think it's good that it was and therefore he shouldn't be. It's inconsistent and pathetic to take the benefit of the data leak and yet support the punishment of the person(s) who gave you that benefit anyway.

  • Re:Oh, how cute (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dcw3 (649211) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @02:22PM (#46576019) Journal

    Carter was (is) a nice guy, probably one of the nicest, that just happened to be not good at politics, economics, or rescuing hostages.

    FTFY

  • Re:Oh, how cute (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @02:25PM (#46576049)

    Now if Carter would only admit that, in 1978, instead of signing the FISA bill into law he should have listened to various rights groups like the ACLU warning about how the creation of a rubber-stamp secret court like FISA would only erode civil liberties and allow for a greater expansion of the surveillance state instead of limiting it, and vetoed it.

  • Re:Oh, how cute (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blue9steel (2758287) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @02:34PM (#46576157)
    To be fair to Carter, most of the problems with the hostage rescue were actually military service interoperability problems. JSOC was founded AFTER the disaster because the military realized their own processes were not up to par. That said, his politics and economics were not so great. He's been an awesome ex-president though!
  • Re:My 0.02 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by operagost (62405) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @02:43PM (#46576257) Homepage Journal

    Jimmy Carter's fault has always been that he wants fairness and "the right thing" not merely what's popular or "should be" right. Reagan's popularity was in large part because he didn't care that much about fairness, he wanted what "should be" right for him, his cronies, and his country, and everyone else was expected to get out of the way and take care of themselves.

    If that's what you got from Reagan, I feel sorry for you. You seem to take everything Carter said on face value, and assume he meant well, while all the optimistic things Reagan said and meaningful things he accomplished must have all been for the nefarious purposes claimed by his harshest critics. The flaw in your argument should be clear to you immediately, in that Reagan couldn't both be popular (implying wide support) and only interested in what was best for his "cronies". I suggest you reevaluate your opinions of both based on the facts, not on hyperbole.

  • by operagost (62405) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @02:58PM (#46576415) Homepage Journal
    Who needs to take a shot at Obamacare? He's doing that himself with his own executive orders. He's tacitly admitted that both the employer and citizen mandates are untenable.
  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @03:35PM (#46576801)

    Snowden has said that he tried option 2 and was told to keep quiet. Add in that others who tried Option 2 a bit louder found themselves not only fired but with trumped up charges brought against them. This left Snowden's only real options as 1 (Keep quiet) and 3 (release the information). He chose 3 and, rightfully so, decided that doing this meant he'd need to go on the run.

  • Re:Oh, how cute (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NoImNotNineVolt (832851) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @03:55PM (#46577001) Homepage
    To be fair to Carter, most of the problems with the hostage rescue were actually a result of the USA covertly installing a puppet government in a sovereign nation and continued use of the US embassy in Tehran as a forward operating base by American intelligency agents.
  • Jimmy Carter... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @04:36PM (#46577427)

    Was the last President to accomplish anything significant in the Middle East Peace Process.
    Was the last President to be concerned about Energy Policy on a level other than "Do what the Energy Companies pay you to do"... (He created the Energy Dept)
    Took responsibility for his failures unlike his successor who claimed to be unaware of what his underlings did in his name. (Iran Contra)
    Was the last honest President and never said things like "If you like your insurance you can keep it", "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction", "I did not have sex with that woman", "Read my lips: No new taxes", or talked about the virtues of smaller government while increasing the size of the military industrial complex, or waging a war on drugs as if American adults needed the government to tell them which intoxications they could indulge in...
    He created less national debt than his successors
    He didn't get the United States involved in any war. Between wars and attacks from Beirut, to the Stark, to the Cole, to Iraq War I, to Iraq War II, to Afghanistan, more military personnel died serving his succesors

    His administration was far from perfect, but 100 years from now when OBJECTIVE historians research his time in office, he's going to come out looking a lot better than a lot of revisionist republican HACK historians would lead you to believe.

  • by readin (838620) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @06:27PM (#46578547)

    What does President Carter have to hide? Must be some sort of terrorist if he wants to communicate privately. We should get a government security detail to monitor this dissident ASAP.

    He's a liberal, of course he thinks people should have civil rights. Why, he's practically a socialist!

    What we need now, more than ever, is fanatical nationalism!

    wait wut?

    If Carter thinks people should have civil rights, why does he support people like Chavez, Ortega and Castro?

    BTW, being a liberal, in the American vernacular, has nothing to do with supporting civil rights. In fact one of the main reasons I'm not a liberal is I strongly believe the government should treat people equally regardless of race and ought to allow people a great deal more freedom than it currently does.

  • by Ellis D. Tripp (755736) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @06:41PM (#46578707) Homepage

    when it comes to having to pay for things like contraceptives or abortions.

    How about this? You can withhold the percentage of your income taxes that provide abortions and contraceptives when you allow people who oppose war to withhold the percentage that gets pissed away on the military budget. Deal?

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