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. Lou Penny

    Not sure why the worse US President ever is contacting foreign leaders. he hasn't a clue about the dangers that face us. And like the Clintons he cant get off the stage. What ever happened to statesmen instead of politicians with egoes the size of a continent.

    March 23, 2014 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  2. magoobee

    They are probably more concerned about Amy's emails

    March 23, 2014 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. Malory Archer


    They should!


    Why? When did it become a criminal offense to be a humanitarian and work for the good of the less fortunate than one's self?

    March 23, 2014 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  4. Huck Mucus

    Meh. They read our snail mail too. The best you can do is encrypt or overwhelm with so much information that information becomes worthless. I'd be looking for "insider" trading by those who aren't supposed to be inside.

    March 23, 2014 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  5. Tony D

    Not only would I be monitoring his email, I'd also be reading those letters. Carter's incompetence and stupidity knows no bounds. And the sad truth is he was still better than Obama, the worse by far. His incompetence cost his party the House in 2010 and will cost them the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016.

    March 23, 2014 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    If everybody would mind their own business and obey the laws of the land they would not get so up tight when the agency that is charged to try and keep us safe listens in on their e-mails. It is like when we had party lines in our telephone systems. Everybody knew to keep things close to their chest and not divulge anything we did not want our neighbors to know.

    March 23, 2014 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  7. Ed

    you should always ask for advise But when has Obama done that . He does what he thinks is best, that's why we are weak overseas..He has his pencil he tolds us that

    March 23, 2014 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  8. James Klimaski

    NSA isn't just looking for terrorists. If it is, it is doing a very poor job of it. No it is doing something else. Otherwise, why is it keeping all this data long after it has no value in the hunt for terrorists. Why monitor Jimmy Carter? Clearly not terrorism. Everyone has their little secrets and NSA has access to them. How many NSA personnel have been caught spying on others for personal reasons? Soon we can expect to return to the Nixon era when political dissent equaled terrorism.

    March 23, 2014 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  9. WhatDifferenceDoesItMake

    Now that he's criticized the Obama administration it's only a matter of time before they label Carter a racist

    March 23, 2014 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  10. Keltoi

    Time to start messaging in either Gaelic or Welsh . Someone may be able to translate the words, but the syntax is so complex that the snoop on duty will be looking at meaningless poetry. In any case the government employee will have had to really work for his salary!
    Sin agad e ma tha!

    March 23, 2014 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  11. RCap

    Only if they are having a difficult time falling asleep or need a good laugh Jimmy.

    March 23, 2014 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  12. JB

    It's a fair bet they spy on the sitting President's communications, as well. If they can, why would they not? They have rules that any of us are aware of.

    March 23, 2014 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  13. george

    well, I came from who lost freedom.....and I know for a fact, not for reading in the newspaper, that when any agency of the government has such a power, freedom will be a casualty..... to pretend use a totalitarian approach to preserve security is an oxymoron.......today they monitor e-mails, later they check your taxes, eventually they feel unstoppable......and freedom die

    March 23, 2014 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  14. tim

    Carter was an okay president. Luck may not have favored him as much as Reagan.

    March 23, 2014 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  15. charles

    Liberals think liberties will protect them from the bad guys.

    March 23, 2014 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  16. scott

    Look ma! conditioning the sheep.

    March 23, 2014 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  17. JB

    Do you suppose they spy on the sitting President's communications as well?

    March 23, 2014 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  18. john.deatherage

    Bravo for President Carter for speaking out.

    March 23, 2014 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  19. deblawre1101

    Former President Carter... You were president 30 years ago. Obviously you think more of your self than any foreign leader ALIVE . I know you are feelign left out but let it go.

    March 23, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  20. Michael

    I wont blame the NSA want to make sure he doesn't do anymore damage. He ruined the whole world specially Middle East by getting ride of Shah (an ally), and installing the barbaric Islamic Republic to replace him. Shame on you Carter, you are nothing but the worst president in US and the whole world's history next to Bush of curse. Even Bush was a better president than you.

    March 23, 2014 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  21. J

    Well jobs are being offered in America!!! All u must do is spy on your neighbors, learn to lie under oath, and if you get caught blame some one else or say i mis heard the question!! Huh.. Nsa.. Huh Cia.. See i just made some jobs with this e mail.. Sad!

    March 23, 2014 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  22. i'm impressed

    i'm sure that they monitor every influencial person. carter would be no exception. they'd probably check his snail mail too.

    March 23, 2014 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  23. jimmy

    Thanks jimmy for the great advice- iran hostage crisis

    March 23, 2014 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  24. Guest

    Of course they scan your stuff. You keep associating with scum who play you like a fish. He never was the sharpest tool in the shed. In my opinion; his brother Billy was the more intelligent Carter brother...certainly less gullible.
    Jimmy...Your Village is looking for you!

    March 23, 2014 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  25. rogue153


    Do you believe that they just stumble upon finding out about criminal activity through already knowing they are criminals? Also, with the government having such control over communications, if the government does get out of control and you decide to speak up and form groups to protest, you will be hunted. This is the reason that NSA spying should be illegal. Don't give up your rights before considering all possible options. As with the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists showed, laws like this are already being used to hold people captive. By even having the power in the first place, it opens up the idea for what can happen. Such action, such as spying on american citizens and even soldiers after they come back, should never even be considered.

    March 23, 2014 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
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