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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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  • Re:My 0.02 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @01:15PM (#46575937) Journal

    It's unfortunate that our legal system has chosen to interpret "impartial" as "unqualified". One of the greatest flaws in our legal system is that we want it to be "fair" by removing any hope of it being more than a crap shoot. I could be a lawyer with no legal training simply by manipulating the jury using basic negotiation tactics.

    First thing: do you know the defendant or anyone else involved? Yes? Get out.

    Second thing: do you know anything about this particular case? Yes? Get out.

    Third thing: Do you know anything about anything involved in this case--for example, anything about the NSA spying programs, constitutional law related, other media coverage for similar cases i.e. Julian Assange, etc. Yes? Get out.

    What we have left is people who know nothing about these activities, how it affects them, or what Snowden revealed. They haven't put any thought into government spying programs, and will likely see "Government protecting citizens" versus "insane conspiracy theorist throwing dangerous national secrets everywhere". Without a huge amount of analysis, backgrounds in criminology and philosophy, and a strong understanding of wide-spread social theory, they can't make a good judgment. They either immediately go, "Oh he broke the law and spilled a lot of our secret important government anti-terrorist protection activities all over, putting us in danger," or they'll go, "Government! I told you them commie son-bitches! They tryin' mind control us!"

    It's like pulling a bunch of people into a lecture hall where they have a debate over quantum mechanics for a few hours a day, and then several days or weeks later they ask you how you think the protouniverse could have emerged from the quantum foam (where the fuck did the energy come from!?) and if black holes and dark matter are mutually exclusive or can co-exist in nine-dimensional space. And you're not allowed to study quantum theory before or during this whole affair.

  • Jimmy the Ignorant (Score:2, Interesting)

    by geekmux (1040042) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @01:19PM (#46575991)

    "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..."

    This is a man who is still afforded Secret Service protection to this day, and he actually thinks his communications to foreign or American leaders are private because he licked a stamp.

    Seriously, how ignorant can one really be.

  • Carter knows (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bussdriver (620565) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @01:39PM (#46576217)

    Carter knows how the system works (or more like how it doesn't work) he isn't going to go too far out on a limb when he doesn't know the details of the situation. Plus despite his age and lower activity he knows he can't afford to cause himself too much trouble - he has said for decades that he had to avoid stepping on toes because of the repercussions.

    In addition, his philosophy is you change things within a system; which means dealing with the broken process and trying to fix it along the way. He does not have an insurgent mindset where one goes around the system on the assumption that it is useless and unrepairable. So it is a rather big deal that he backs Snowden's circumvention as much as he does. His thinking would be along the lines of a whistle blower protection process so one wouldn't need to circumvent the system. You simply don't succeed in the Military and then become US President without at least a little authoritarian bias.

    Carter was the last actual president on the USA. Afterwards they were all vetted so they will not mess with the establishment. It just goes to show, the president doesn't have much power; just like a puppet dictator, the only power is that which is sanctioned by those who are actually in control.

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