June 1st, 2009
04:04 PM ET
13 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. Ajean

    The President did not rule out " future" prosecutions. He said we need to focus on the "future". Perhaps he's trying to clear up other issues, like the "economy" before delving into Bush Administration Prosecutions. The President is more concerned about the safety of our troops that are involved in "2 Wars" right now. Judgment will come to Bush and Cheney. We the people can not decide how or when, that is a matter only God can decide.

    June 1, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. Barbara Campbell

    I'm a strong supporter of President Obama, and believe that he would have released the photos if they would do more good than harm. It's neither surprising nor disappointing that Obama has deviated from some campaign promises. He now has access to complete information, and is capable of learning and adapting.

    June 1, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. MartinSA

    The real irony is that Carter is armchairing from his own experience which demonstrated bad MidEast AND Military policies.

    June 1, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. Sean

    Finally a president that both right wing extremists and left wing extremists dont like. What we have here is a true moderate president and you can always tell who a moderate is by who people like Rush Limbaugh and Jimmy Carter criticize.

    June 1, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |

    People STOP, 911 remember how you felt that day. did anyone forget, they hit us first and the red white and blue colors don't run. everyone had a flag on thaere care and houses and now you see not one american flag flying. get real these people deserve it.. id i was president i would nuke them all and be done with it.

    June 1, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. Jim Steinberg

    President Carter is right. President Obama is wrong. I appreciate so much of what Obama has done to reverse the eight years of heartless, deadly, lawless, bungled government under Cheney and Bush.
    We cannot cleanse our nation of their dishonor (and our dishonor. We elected them!) without cleaning out all our dirty landry. And this laundry is the most filthy because it is soiled with innocent civilians' blood, our own soldiers' blood, children's blood and so many tens of thousands of ruined lives.
    The longer Obama delays full examination and public airing of this national shame, the faster his credibility as a truthful and truth-seeking president will bleed away.

    June 1, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. Michael

    Stagflation. OPEC. Iranian hostage crisis. Do you remember any of these? You may be a good human being but you were an atrocious leader. You left this country a disaster. Sir, go back to your peanut farm and stay out of the peanut gallery. You are a dangerous man.

    June 1, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. dan in Tucson

    Carter hits the nail on the head. Hey it's not an easy task to go after the past administration, but frankly after what the Bush people did to this country, they deserve to be let out to dry. I say war crimes tribunal. I need to see them disgraced.

    June 1, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Cher

    Joseph Buttacavoli - news to you Iraq had nothing to do with 911. All but one one the terrorists was a Saudi and Osama is a Saudi. Sadaam was many bad things but he was not a religious zealot.

    June 1, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  10. Edgar

    Now, the real question is: why is anyone listening to Carter? He is the most irrelevant politician of all times.

    June 1, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |

    Hey don't direspect the "Peanut' i like peanuts. maybe it was too many peanuts for the brain.

    June 1, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. Repugs are Thugs

    Since President Obama is privy to Security Briefings on a daily basis and Mr. Carter, Newt, Mitt and Rush aren't, shouldn't they keep their pie holes shut? Finally we have a President who cares more about the troops than winning a friggin war that should have never been in the first place. He is the President and it is his call to make. Finally, someone who is doing what is really in the best interest of the country. Refreshing isn't it?

    June 1, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  13. Not Left or Right but Forward

    If they release the photographs, I believe they ought to do so with a published statement that those identified as having committed acts depicted that are beyond the provisions of U.S. and International Laws will be prosecuted. If they do not, then the pictures will do nothing to stop this from happening again – and they will inflame an already violent hatred toward the U.S. There are indications that some photographs depict rape – and if that is the case, those responsible should be prosecuted under the laws of the country where the offenses took place. This sort of thing is in a different category – and if anyone says its like wterboarding, or that there is ANY ambiguity regarding the illegality of rape as a means of interrogation, they are certifiably insane.

    June 1, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Why are you talking with Jimmy Carter? He was by far the worst president we have had in this era. Obama may be second only to him!

    G in Indy

    June 1, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |

    iran, iraq, osama,obama,north korea, what ever if they don't like us let them kill each other, Not us there all the same.

    June 1, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. Ruty

    Jimmy in case you didn't notice–Obama is president. You and George Bush will go down in history as being the two worse presidents in history. Shut up and stay in Georgia .

    June 1, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. pierce

    Who the heck if jimmy carter?
    Nobody cares what you think anymore.

    Oh, the inflationary/recessionary 1970s called and they want you back,

    June 1, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. Michael

    I'm not sure what these idiots have done with their memories but Jimmy Carter is a great man and was a great President. He's absolutely right on this one. He was a peacemaker and the only President in my lifetime with the cojones to stand up to big business and do what was right for the people of this country and of the world! I guess these days that makes you an object of ridicule and derision. You have to be a fascist idiot like Bush-Cheney and the great God Reagan (whose nonsensical "trickle down" Reaganomics" is responsible for the world economic meltdown we're now seeing) to be appreciated these days! How quicky and how far we've fallen from intelligence and decency!

    June 1, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. bert

    There are times when it is not worth telling the whole story, or in this instance, showing the pictures. The Pres. knows what he is doing. You can't un-ring a bell. Best to let the mood of the world dictate when to let those pics come out.
    Pres. Carter is right to want the pics to come out but Pres. Obama is right to wait on the perfect timing to do so. Perhaps when the economic engine of the world starts to move for the regular people again it will be a good time to show the world what we would do to protect this Nation.

    June 1, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. southerncousin

    Obama is the second Carter administration and he will leave us in even worse shape in all areas of government endeavor.

    June 1, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. ThinkAboutIt

    JOSEPH BUTTACAVOLI says he'd "nuke these people and be done with it."

    Exactly which people would you nuke? The perpetrators of 9/11 who are hiding along the Afghan-Pakistan border? (Don't forget, Pakistan has nuclear weapons, too.)

    And how would you control the fallout from that nuke attack as it drifts around the world?

    June 1, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. SoCalGal

    Carter...Obama – two pimples on the face of America.

    June 1, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. Major

    Carter is an embarrassment to our country (wrong all the time and sympathizer to our enemies). United States lost its image during his administration and we lost one of our best allies (IRAN) because of his human right preaching to Shah. Soviets invaded Afghanistan, chaos in Lebanon and so on......

    June 1, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. Archie C. Williams

    President Carter was one of the best President ever. If it was not for the Congress and the ofter House he would have done much more to improve the status of America.. for the rescue you nuts do not understand that a MAJOR SAND STORM is what messed up the rescue.. YES check out you History and you will know that instead of listening to people you want to blame and SAND STORM on the President's rescue mission. Carter was a BLESSING to America but because he was not liked and was not a good old boy they wanted to paint a different picture of him. May God continue to bless you Mr. Carter for being a real human being and a Great President

    June 1, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
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