Tag Archives: Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter says sovereign nations have a right to offer Snowden asylum

Jimmy Carter Defends Edward Snowden, Says NSA Spying Has Compromised Nation's Democracy - Huffington Post 20130718

Former President Jimmy Carter announced support for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden this week, saying that his uncovering of the agency's massive surveillance programs had proven "beneficial."

Speaking at a closed-door event in Atlanta covered by German newspaper Der Spiegel, Carter also criticized the NSA's domestic spying as damaging to the core of the nation's principles.

"America does not have a functioning democracy at this point in time," Carter said,according to a translation by Inquisitr.

No American outlets covered Carter's speech, given at an Atlantic Bridge meeting, which has reportedly led to some skepticism over Der Spiegel's quotes. But Carter's stance would be in line with remarks he's made on Snowden and the issue of civil liberties in the past.

In June, while Snowden was scrambling to send out asylum requests from an airport in Russia, Carter appeared to back the former NSA contractor's efforts to remain out of U.S. custody.

"He's obviously violated the laws of America, for which he's responsible, but I think the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far," he told CNN, saying that nations were within their right to offer asylum to Snowden. "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."

Snowden has been hard-pressed to find support among U.S. politicians. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have declared Snowden a traitor who deserves to be prosecuted for his leaks. The White House has also been persistent in its attempts to bring him into custody. Last week, the administration criticized Russia for facilitating a meeting between Snowden and human rights activists. Snowden has since applied for temporary asylum in the nation, following complications surrounding transit to the Latin American nations that he'd been considering.

Father proposes deal for Snowden's voluntary return - CNN 20130630

The father of Edward J. Snowden has offered federal authorities a deal that he says would likely lead the accused leaker to return voluntarily to the United States to face espionage charges.

The proposal was laid out in a letter, dated Thursday and obtained Friday by CNN's "Amanpour," addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder and written by Bruce Fein, a Washington-based lawyer for Snowden's father, Lonnie G. Snowden.

It demands that the former National Security Agency computer contractor who exposed details about U.S. surveillance programs remain free prior to trial; not be subject to a gag order; and be tried in a place of his choosing.

It further demands that, if any of those promises is broken, the prosecution would be dismissed.

Read the letter

"With these written representations and guarantee, Mr. Snowden is reasonably confident that his son could be persuaded to surrender voluntarily to the jurisdiction of the United States to face trial," Fein wrote.

The Justice Department has no immediate comment.

In comments Friday to NBC News' "Today," the elder Snowden said he had not spoken with his son since April.

"I love him, I would like to have the opportunity to communicate with him. I don't want to put him in peril, but I am concerned about those who surround him," he said.

Though the 30-year-old man may have betrayed his government, "I don't believe he has betrayed the people of the United States," he said.

He expressed concern that his son might have been manipulated by WikiLeaks. "Their focus isn't necessarily the Constitution of the United States," he said. "It's simply to release as much information as possible."

A day after authorities in Ecuador said they would not bow to U.S. pressure as they weigh Snowden's request for asylum, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell denied any "bullying" tactics had been used.

"The point is just that we are making a consistent point to any government that might take him as a final destination that this is somebody wanted on serious felony charges and we would like him returned to the United States," Ventrell told reporters Friday in response to a question from CNN's Jill Dougherty.

Obama: Pay no attention to that man we can't capture

He was referring to his warning Thursday that Ecuador's economic ties with the United States could be jeopardized.

"What would not be a good thing is them granting Mr. Snowden asylum," Ventrell had said. "That would have grave difficulties for a bilateral relationship."

Ventrell then cited trade agreements the United States has extended to Ecuador.

"They're unilateral trade provisions that provide a benefit to certain Ecuadorian products," Ventrell said. "Whether they're renewed or not is a prerogative of the U.S. Congress."

Asked about that remark, Ventrell said Friday, "I wouldn't call it a threat. I'd say that, you know, we are making the same points in public that we are making in private -- that this is somebody accused of serious crimes that we want returned."

The warning sparked a strong response on Thursday from Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, at an event in Quevedo

"It is outrageous to try to de-legitimize a state for receiving a petition of asylum," said the left-leaning economist who is known for decrying what he and other Latin American leaders have called U.S. imperialism.

And on Friday, the Embassy of Ecuador announced that the country had suspended its support for the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act, which provided duty-free treatment for certain products.

U.S. asks Ecuador to reject any asylum request from Snowden

"As we have stated previously, any political or economic consequences of our decision regarding the asylum request are outweighed by our legal and humanitarian obligations," an embassy statement said.

Last year, Ecuador granted asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who remains in the nation's embassy in Britain.

Ecuador's rationale appeared to have won support from former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. If another country wants to give haven to Snowden, "then that is their right as a sovereign nation," he told CNN's Suzanne Malveaux. "If the United States can acquire custody of him, I'm sure he will be brought to trial, and that's the way the law should be implemented."

Snowden's acts may have some positive impact, Carter said.

"He's obviously violated the laws of America, for which he's responsible, but I think the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far," 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."

Asked to elaborate, he said, "I think the American people deserve to know what their Congress is doing."

Snowden has been at Moscow's international airport since Sunday, when he arrived from Hong Kong.

Europe furious, 'shocked' by report of U.S. spying

Jimmy Carter would consider pardoning Edward Snowden

Jimmy Carter says he would consider pardoning Edward Snowden - The Washington Post - 20140326

Former president Jimmy Carter (D) said Wednesday that he would consider pardoning Edward Snowden if he returned to the United States and was convicted and sentenced, but acknowledged he doesn't have enough information to judge how much damage the former National Security Agency contractor has done to U.S. national security interests.

"If he was found guilty and sentenced to death, I would certainly consider pardon," Carter said. But, Carter added that he doesn't have "the information President Obama has about what damage has been done to our security apparatus."

When asked whether he would pardon Snowden today as president, Carter replied, "No, because you can't pardon someone who has not been tried and convicted."

Carter made his remarks during an appearance at The Washington Post. He's been making the rounds to promote his new book, "A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power." The discussion, which also focused heavily on women's issues and religion, was moderated by David Ignatius and Sally Quinn.

Carter has been a critic of the NSA surveillance efforts revealed by Snowden, who is living in Russia. The former president recently said that he believes the agency is monitoring his e-mails. On Wednesday, Carter called on Obama to do more to scale back the scope of government surveillance.

"I would like to see him do it by executive order which I think he could," Carter said.

On the situation in Ukraine, Carter reiterated his belief that the United States and its allies could not have done anything to stop Crimea from falling into Russia's hands. But, he added that Russian President Vladimir Putin "has to be stopped now." He said that while the threat of U.S. military force to prevent Russia from moving further into Ukraine is probably excessive, showing support for the Ukrainian military in concert with U.S. allies is prudent.

"I think it would be legitimate to say we are going to make sure the Ukraine military are fortified and [provided with] whatever weapons they need," said Carter.
On Middle East peace efforts, Carter urged Obama to adopt a robust posture in support of his chief diplomat if he comes forth with a comprehensive peace plan in the region.

"He doesn't have to be involved in the negotiations," said Carter, "but he has to make sure once [Secretary of State] John Kerry comes forward with a roadmap ... that he lets the whole world know this is the United States position."

Carter: Snowden's leaks 'good for Americans to know' - USA Today 20140325

Jimmy Carterdefended the disclosures by fugitive NSA contractorEdward 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."

Carter, 89, was interviewed on USA TODAY's Capital Download about his new book,A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power, being published Tuesday. He discussed the need to change the way the U.S. military handles sexual abuse cases, his correspondence with Pope Francis, his grandson's campaign for governor of Georgia -- his former job -- and whether Hillary Clinton would make a good president.

And he described how concern that his own e-mails are being monitored by intelligence agencies prompted him to type or write letters when he has a personal message for a foreign leader, then to mail them. Even then, he suspects the letters might be scrutinized when they pass through U.S. embassies.

"I think it's wrong," he 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."

Does he view Snowden, now granted asylum in Russia, as a hero or a traitor?

"There's no doubt that he broke the law and that he would be susceptible, in my opinion, to prosecution if he came back here under the law," he said. "But I think it's good for Americans to know the kinds of things that have been revealed by him and others -- and that is that since 9/11 we've gone too far in intrusion on the privacy that Americans ought to enjoy as a right of citizenship."

Carter cautioned that he didn't have information about whether some of the disclosures "may have hurt our security or individuals that work in security," adding, "If I knew that, then I may feel differently." And he said Snowden shouldn't be immune from prosecution for his actions.

"I think it's inevitable that he should be prosecuted and I think he would be prosecuted" if he returned to the United States, the former president said. "But I don't think he ought to be executed as a traitor or any kind of extreme punishment like that."

In his new book, published by Simon & Schuster,Carter details human rights abuses against women and girls around the world, often justified in the name of the Bible, the Koran and other religious texts. He called the issue "the most serious and unaddressed worldwide challenge," in the developing world and the United States.

He expressed fears that the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the end of this year would reverse many of the gains made there in the treatment of women and girls.

"I am concerned," he said. "I think the long occupation of the United States in Afghanistan and the evolution of the right of some girls to go to school has maybe decreased the adverse consequences of Taliban domination. I don't think it will come back as bad as it was in the past, but I think it still exists."

Carter, who endorsed Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential campaign, spoke highly of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the candidate he didn't endorse then. "I think Hillary has done a good job, obviously, as secretary of State and I think she obviously knows politics as well as anybody in America -- she and her husband together -- and I think she would make a good president."

As his 90th birthday approaches this year, he offered some thoughts on his legacy.

"One is peace," he said. "I kept peace when I was president and I try to promote peace between other people and us, and between countries that were potentially at war, between Israel and Egypt for instance. And human rights. . . . I think human rights and peace are the two things I'd like to be remembered for -- as well as being a good grandfather." And he laughed.

‘America has no functioning democracy’ – Jimmy Carter on NSA - RT 20130718

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.