Jimmy Carter Believes Surveillance Has 'Gone Too Far'

Huffington Post: Politics

Former President Jimmy Carter thinks surveillance programs have “gone too far," the Georgia Democrat told HuffPost Live in an interview Tuesday. He also criticized President Barack Obama for the administration’s handling of national security.

"I personally think we have an intrusion of national security of the administration and others to the private affairs of Americans," Carter said. "When there’s no evidence in advance that a particular communication between two American people should be suspect, I think that we’ve gone too far."

During Carter’s time as president he passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), which limited the use of wiretapping unless approved by the attorney general of the United States and independent judges.The restraints of FISA "[have] now been removed," Carter said. "Now it’s a blanket thing, it’s macro recording of all kinds of communication."

Carter went on to say Obama has gone against some of his previous promises on limiting the breadth of the federal government's surveillance programs.

"I think [Obama] made some statements while he was campaigning that he was going to open up government… and I think when he got in office he found that those promises were not feasible, at least in his judgment," Carter said.

"I think there’s been more perhaps prosecution of say journalists, news reporters under President Obama than ever before in history perhaps," he added. "But I’m not qualified to say whether it’s right or wrong because I don’t know the circumstances of the individual cases."

This is not the first time Carter has raised concerns on privacy and civil liberties in today's environment. Last year, he told NBC’s "Meet the Press" that he prefers snail mail, because the National Security Agency may be monitoring his emails.

"I have felt that my own communications were probably monitored," Carter said. "And when I want to communicate with a foreign leader privately, I type or write the letter myself, put it in the post office and mail it."

Watch the full clip above.

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