"America does not have a functioning democracy at this point in time," former President Jimmy Carter (shown in photo) said this week, according to a report in the German newspaper Der Spiegel. Carter was quoted as having made that remark at a closed-door meeting of Atlantic Bridge, a research and education organization supporting cooperation between the United States and Great Britain on political, economic, and defense issues. The former president reportedly said the National Security Agency's invasion of privacy has gone too far, as he defended that actions of Edward Snowden, the American now seeking asylum in Russia after leaking classified documents revealing the massive NSA interception of communications between citizens and among government officials worldwide.
The English translation of Carter's remarks was published in the online news source Inquisitr.com. No American media outlets reported on the closed meeting and it was not clear where Der Spiegel got its information, Inquisitr noted. But both Inquisitr and Huffington Post, which also carried the story, noted that the quotes were consistent with previous published remarks by the former president.
In June, Huffington Post noted, Carter addressed the Snowden controversy in an interview with CNN after the 29-year-old intelligence analyst had flown from Hong Kong to Moscow in his quest for asylum from the U.S. government that is seeking to prosecute him for espionage and theft of government property.
"He's obviously violated the laws of America, for which he's responsible," Carter said at that time, "but I think the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far." The Georgia Democrat also said nations that were offering asylum to Snowden were acting within their rights. "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," Carter said.
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Photo of Jimmy Carter: AP Images