June 1st, 2009
04:04 PM ET
5 years ago

Carter sounds off on Obama


(CNN) - Former President Jimmy Carter tells CNN he believes photos showing detainee abuse should be released to the public - putting him at odds with President Obama, who has said the release of those pictures could endanger U.S. troops.

In an interview set to air Monday night, Carter told CNN's Campbell Brown some of President Obama's supporters are disappointed in him. "Most of his supporters were hoping that he would be much more open in the revelation of what we've done in the past," said the former president, although he added that he still respects Obama's judgment on the issue: "I don't agree with him, but I certainly don't criticize him for making that decision."

Earlier this month, Obama asked government lawyers to stop the release of photos showing prisoner abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan, a reversal of an earlier White House position. Hundreds of photos were set for release after a Freedom of Information Act request was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Carter also seemed to disagree with Obama on what should happen to Bush Justice Department officials who signed off on waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics. Carter stopped short of calling for immediate prosecutions, but did suggest they might be appropriate in the future.

"What I would like to see is a complete examination of what did happen, the identification of any perpetrators of crimes against our own laws or against international law," he told Brown. "And then after all that's done, decide whether or not there should be any prosecutions."

The new administration has not definitely ruled out any prosecutions, but President Obama said on several occasions that "we need to focus on the future."

Campbell Brown's full interview with Former President Carter will air Monday night on CNN at 8 pm ET.


Filed under: Jimmy Carter • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. Stay Active

    I am not disappointed that President Obama did not release the latest pictures....as a card carrier and proud member of the ACLU, the first round of pictures made me sick to my stomach. I had to get up from my desk and get sick. This country has really gone to hell in a hand basket. I do wish for criminal prosocutions....this will come in time. Progress takes time. I wish it could go faster. We cannot hold people forever with out proof they are guilty of something.

    June 1, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. Cindy

    My God, what has this world come to? These posts are getting so scary I can't even read them anymore. A man can't talk without getting a bunch of people name calling and telling him to die? Why can't a past president give his personal opinion like a past vice presiden? Republicans want all democrats to die and democrats want to reason with them. No, I'm not a democrat. I just don't understand this.

    June 1, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. Retired US ARMY

    While I agree that the photos should be released, the President has accepted the request from the military as to not release the photos at this time. The military fearing that the release of the photos would place our service member even in greater harmes way.

    And while I believe that a complete investigation should be carried out and those individuals responsible held accountable for their actions, the President has spoken on the matter. I can agree with him on some of it, but time will march on and justice shall be served if not now in the future, however I do not feel it is appropriate for an ex-President to be second guessing the sitting President.

    June 1, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. Sean the thinker

    Gary, your ad homineim attack about President Carter's tenure has no relevance or merit to the current issue that he speaks about.

    June 1, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    I would never buy George W's book. He is a bad man.

    June 1, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. Brad W.

    Carter and Obama are jokes of the highest degree. The people who would make the best Presidents are most likely sickened by the ill-informed opinions people make and the venom they spew in the name of their respective side.

    June 1, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  7. katiec

    Am pleased to see others agree about CNN's bias.
    They have improved though. There was a time that NOTHING that was
    said against them and their strong support of the GOP was not posted.
    Carter's actions as president pale in comparison to what the
    Bush administration and the republicans have done to our country these last eight years. Bush will undoubted ly go down as the
    worse president in the history of our country. They failed miserably
    in every way possible.

    June 1, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. dave

    The republicans know thatthe trick to good propaganda is to repeat the same thing over and over from a number of different directions with everyone speaking on message. It works. That is why a number of people who don't have the ability to think for themselves believe that Carter was the worst president and Reagan was great somehow. Neither has any basis in fact. This past election the constant repetition of lies was seen in the light of day because on the internet you can check facts and non-corporate media can speak. That is why the lies of the right were exposed. The problem is when Carter was being swiftboated and Reagan crowned you had no way of testing truth. We need to rethink a lot of what we were taught by the foxy right now that we have seen in the light of day that the emperor has no clothes.

    June 1, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Trang

    Well, I am disappointed as well. If we admit we were wrong, then we can move on. But because some still go out and insist that we weren't wrong, that enhanced interrogation is not torture, that it's okay to torture in wartime, that people can be held indefinitely w/ no proof ... that's why the issue don't go away. Our conscience don't let it go.

    June 1, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. Jerry Culbertson

    Mr. Carter:
    I respect the office of President of the US and I respect those who have occupied that office; however one cannot help but wonder if some of your stupid remarks could be caused by too many Peanuts and too much Billy Beer.

    June 1, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. Jay

    As a Veteran myself, I applaud the Prez for not releasing those pictures even if I can professionally disagree with him on some other issues. Any of you egg-heads vouching for the release of the pictures remember how bad things got in Iraq when the Abu-Ghrab pics were released? That's not transparency, that's protecting American lives.

    None of you have to dodge bullets and IED's, too worried about whether your latte' gets too cold.

    June 1, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. Randolph Carter

    Jimmy Carter worst president ever? Not even close. I would put him somewhere in the middle. The guy did more for peace in the mideast than anyone before or since. As for the horrible economic problems of the '70's, That had more to do with the Arab oil embargo and the de-industrialization of America than Carter's domestic policies. I think where Carter failed was in not being proactive to address these problems. Also the guy was right about foreign oil dependency but nobody listened. All in all, I'd say he was a mediocre president, but I respect him because he is one of the few who actually cares about poor people. Have a nice day!

    June 1, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. WELCOME TO THE PRESIDENCY MR OBAMA

    Sir, you aren't going to please anyone on this topic, continue to listen to your Military Advisor as they know better than anyone else, they've been there, lived it. I agree not to show anymore photos other than those that already have been revealed before you became President. Nothing good will come out of it. Research and find the truth then make a decision to pursure and bring those responsible to justice. Some say that the soldiers who took part should not be held responsible and I agree as they were following orders, having said that those who gave the orders should be held responsible. The laws should be top priority not Political interests.

    June 1, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  14. Dave

    Considering Carter's record, I think the fact that Obama disagrees with him speaks well of Obama. Jimmy Carter was a nice guy, but a lousy president. So far Obama's a nice guy and is doing a good job.

    June 1, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. rob

    I'm disappointed in Obama too and I was a major supporter. He did not repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell as he said he would!!!

    June 1, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  16. Kyle, Albany, NY

    I know a lot of the folks on blogs throw around incendiary terms as they are doing it basically anonymously and without accountability, but can we really start to tone it down a bit on the rhetoric and have more civil debates? Some of the things I see on CNN's blogs are just ridiculous assertions with no basis in fact and simply stir some people up on both sides of the aisle. We need to all be smarter than this and have civil, logical debates.

    If you disagree with someone, try not to be insulting - instead show actual facts why you disagree. Name calling is getting us nowhere as a Nation.

    Thank you.

    June 1, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. dian

    Obama made the right decision.

    June 1, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. MT

    Former President Carter, not effective when he was in office and less so now. He just has less aplogies to deliver on a regular basis now!

    Peoples Voice,

    So according to your thinking what should have been done in the middle east? If your answer is the US should have done nothing (or left it for your beloved UN blue helmet brigade) then would the US be better off , worse off or even? If your answer is something should have been done, then what? Which country should have stepped forward?

    All you Liberal Democrats just want to sit on the sidelines and then whine about how unfair the conditions are for others in tyranical nations.

    June 1, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. Blue is my favourite colour

    No matter what your opinion of Obama's domestic policy is, he is better at foreign policy, so I trust his judgment. Showing pictures of more heinous acts of torture will incite more violence–everyone knows you can't put a fire out with gasoline–Obama is right on this one.

    As far as his stance with China, he needs to tread lightly – or China will call their debts in. I don't feel like handing global economic dominance over to a communist country. Obama will act with China accordingly when the time is right and we have more leverage. We don't have leverage now because Bush sold us out.

    All you naysaysers are like armchair idiots like Carter. Only if you, yourselves could handle things better than Obama, should you be so critical.

    June 1, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. Brian, NJ

    If you are looking for one President worse than George W. Bush, there is his picture in this article, Jimmy Carter. Worse on the economy, national defense and made us appear to be weaker than at any time in our history since WWII.

    June 1, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  21. SM

    The photos should be released so that Americans can see just how wicked Cheney and Bush were. Cheney of course defended his actions.

    I say that if Cheney is convicted of these crimes, he should be tortured on a daily basis. Let's first start with waterboarding!

    June 1, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  22. Mike

    Great, all the sudden now Carter is a man of action....why wasn't he when he was actually president

    June 1, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. whaley41

    And to think I voted for Carter! I have never voted for another Democrat for president and I never will. His 4 years was the worst my family has ever lived thru. High inflation, long gas lines and high interest rates. His words are just empty now!

    June 1, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. Calista

    @ dominican mama 4 Obama

    I totally agree with you...there is no way Obama has been doing that stuff on purpose. He's like Carter-an intelligent man that has no clue as to how to run a country. We all have to admit, it's beginning to show.

    June 1, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  25. JOSEPH BUTTACAVOLI

    first of all i would love to see those pictures so i could laugh at the terrorist. we should have hung them like they do in iran. and i am not an american hater obama is making us look that weak you fool.

    June 1, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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