Jimmy Carter believes the NSA monitors his e-mails
March 23rd, 2014
01:47 PM ET
8 years ago

Jimmy Carter believes the NSA monitors his e-mails

(CNN) - Former President Jimmy Carter said Sunday he believes the National Security Agency is monitoring his e-mails, so when he wants to communicate with a foreign leader, he sends an old-fashioned letter via snail mail.

Asked by NBC's Andrea Mitchell about the debate surrounding the spy agency and the conflict between privacy and national security, Carter said the surveillance practices have "been extremely liberalized and I think abused by our own intelligence agencies."

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"As a matter of fact, you know, I have felt that my own communications were probably monitored, 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," Carter said.

Regarding the crisis in Ukraine, Carter said there must be a "concerted international" effort to keep Russian President Vladimir Putin from going beyond Crimea.

But, he added, President Barack Obama doesn't ask for his advice on the matter - or any foreign policy issues.

"President Obama doesn't, but previously presidents have called on me," he said, adding that differences over policy in the Middle East may have put distance between the two.

"I think the problem was that - in dealing with the issue of peace in between Israel and Egypt - the Carter Center has taken a very strong and public position of equal treatment between the Palestinians and the Israelis," he said

"And I think this was a sensitive area in which the President didn't want to be involved."

Filed under: Jimmy Carter • NSA • President Obama
soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. rl

    President Carter, I also have no doubt that you are correct about yourself and that we all are subject to this abuse in the name of "protection" Remember those who give up freedoms for temporary security, have and deserve neither.

    March 23, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. Buy Better Tech & Security

    Mr. President. If your snail mail is significant to our government, don't you think it will be intercepted and read before being delivered?

    March 23, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  3. Breaking Good

    If you're an america then of course you are being monitored Jimmy. really?.. just because your the ex president doesn't make you any less unimportant then you were before.

    March 23, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. Mathprof

    My dear Mr. President Carter: If they weren't checking your "snail Mail" before, they will be from now on. I remember your election-I was hopeful that a real-life scientist like yourself could tame the beast. Unfortunately, you were attacked relentlessly. Many parallels to what is happening with President Obama. Best of luck to you and your family sir, you continue to be an inspiration to millions of us.

    March 23, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. OctopusRave

    Should not have said he sent letters. The NSA will probably track those too.

    March 23, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. Jeff

    Sadly, Carter is correct. The NSA does read his email. What he doesn't seem to know is that the USPS photographs all mail going in and out of the US and they probably just steam his letters open and read them anyway. Sad state of affairs in Amerika when this sort of thing is allowed to happen.

    March 23, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. former democrat

    It is very sad that the USA has fell from grace and must rely on spying on its citizenry . Not taken the objective advice to view all option is dangerous from the point of ignorance,which leads to wars.
    Looking to previous world leaders is a sign of great leadership even if those views differ.
    the greatest threat to any Democracy is how easily the Government can spy on its own citizenry without any opposition.

    March 23, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  8. sftommy

    no privacy, no intrigue, no lies, no deception, no misrepresentation, no subterfuge,no inquiry unsatisfied, no history undocumented, no extrapolation impossible, no quiet moment of private contemplation, no snip of fate not preordained, is it you God? or the Son of the NSA?

    March 23, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. Sausage Frenzy

    Home of the not so free anymore and too lazy and apathetic and scared to do anything about it.
    The Future is bleak.

    March 23, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. John

    Idiot doesn't know that NSA can read his typed letter from the computer, and the FBI can intercept it in the mail.

    March 23, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  11. TheSadTruth

    Jimmy Carter, the ONLY president I believe to qualify for the title of "true humanitarian" is just another spy target for a government agency running wild.

    March 23, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  12. T E X A S

    The NSA monitors everything. Nothing new here. Read James Bamford's book "Body of Secrets".

    March 23, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. K

    If President Carter is concerned that the NSA monitors his email, what would make him think that they don't monitor his snail mail too?

    March 23, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. Cliff Robeson

    Jimmy………..that's what you get for supporting Obummer! I hate to think what you would be saying if it had been the Tea Party.

    March 23, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  15. Joe Smith

    Is there anything the NSA could possibly care less about than Jimmy Carter's emails?

    March 23, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. Sarah

    Bush created more Gestapo Laws than Hitler !....from the Patriot Act, to the NSL letters to Homeland Insecurity, TSA, NSA, and the Border Wall and Guantanamo.

    March 23, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  17. Jerry

    If you like receiving attention from numerous U.S. government agencies, including some you maybe never heard of, just try hacking into a current or former President's phone.

    March 23, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  18. John

    I actually like Jimmy Carter. But sometimes people should just shut up, even ex-presidents. He "felt" his email was being monitored? What did he feel, vibrations? If he has something more to offer I would like to hear it.

    March 23, 2014 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  19. Jonjoje

    "he sends an old-fashioned letter via snail mail..." Sorry to break it to you, but that is also checked.

    March 23, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Subnx

    Carter may have been the worst President ever and he hasn't changed. He doesn't understand Muslim militants.

    March 23, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  21. 1776usa2016

    NSA is one massive constitutional violation.


    March 23, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  22. kansascindy

    He really believes they aren't going through his snail mail, too? Or just wishful thinking? Heck, they would intercept deliveries and put special Spyware on computers being shipped to homes/offices. I imagine they are intercepting at US Post Offices, UPS and FedEx.

    March 23, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  23. Fish

    That's because Jimmy's grandson made the Romney Video from his cellphone!!! Poor Jimmy forgets Obama is a Wall Street boy!!!!

    March 23, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  24. Solomon Walker

    I'm sure everyone employed by USPS is upright and honest, Jimmy. That Steam & Stamp Group.

    March 23, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  25. Name Uche Agonsi

    President Carter is out of time with communication. Communication as the nerve of modern world tech equally drives the greatest security concerns for nation states. Carter's reservations on communications should therefore be done with responsible candour, not immature bias publicity because contrary to his line of thought against Obama, if Mohammed does not go to the mountain, the mountain should go to Mohammed.

    March 23, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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