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Stableford writes: "Former President Jimmy Carter believes U.S. intelligence agencies are spying on him — so much so, he eschews email to avoid government spies."

Former President Jimmy Carter. (photo: AP)
Former President Jimmy Carter. (photo: AP)


Jimmy Carter: 'I Believe if I Send an Email, It Will Be Monitored'

By Dylan Stableford, Yahoo! News

24 March 14

 

ormer President Jimmy Carter believes U.S. intelligence agencies are spying on him — so much so, he eschews email to avoid government spies.

"You know, I have felt that my own communications are probably monitored," Carter told NBC's Andrea Mitchell in an interview broadcast Sunday. "And when I want to communicate with a foreign leader privately, I type or write a letter myself, put it in the post office and mail it.

"I believe if I send an email, it will be monitored," Carter continued.

The 89-year-old said the National Security Agency and others have abused the argument that gathering intelligence is critical to homeland security.

"That has been extremely liberalized and, I think, abused by our own intelligence agencies," Carter said.

The 39th president, however, stopped short of criticizing No. 44 over the handling of the N.S.A. scandal, the crisis in Ukraine or anything else.

"I don't have any criticism of him," Carter said of Obama.

He was asked if the the president ever asks him for advice.

"Unfortunately, the answer is no," Carter said. "President Obama doesn't. But previous presidents have called on me and the Carter Center to take action."

Why not Obama?

"That's a hard question for me to answer, you know, with complete candor," he said. "I think the problem was that in dealing with the issue of peace between Israel and Egypt, the Carter Center [took] a very strong and public position of equal treatment between the Palestinians and the Israelis. And I think this was a sensitive area in which the president didn't want to be involved."


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+87 # Peter B. K. 2014-03-24 09:18
this is what happens to really honest people: They are not even asked for their contribution. It's this low we have sunk!
 
 
+36 # Blackjack 2014-03-24 09:22
I agree with Carter. I don't have as much to fear from monitoring as he, but I do NOT trust putting too much info online, especially financial info, and will NOT contribute to RSN in that fashion. Unfortunately, in RSN's eyes, my contributions do not count!
 
 
+27 # blizmo1 2014-03-24 09:42
Quoting Blackjack:
I agree with Carter. I don't have as much to fear from monitoring as he, but I do NOT trust putting too much info online, especially financial info, and will NOT contribute to RSN in that fashion. Unfortunately, in RSN's eyes, my contributions do not count!

Mail them a check.
 
 
+17 # Blackjack 2014-03-24 11:21
That is what I have done, for an annual donation, which should be as valuable as a monthly donation if you have your financial ducks in a row.
 
 
-4 # tabonsell 2014-03-24 18:14
I also do not put any financial matters on the internet and pay by checks. But not that I think NSA is monitoring me; it isn't, but because of hackers who seem to be better at the practice than is NSA.

And Jimmy Carter isn't being monitored by NSA. The foreign leaders he corresponds with probably are, but he isn't.
 
 
+2 # Malcolm 2014-03-24 21:38
Why do you think that?
 
 
-6 # tabonsell 2014-03-26 17:45
Been there, done that. Was in at the beginning when we set up the operation and know the entire score and mission and which you evidently know nothing. Also know that NSA's responsibilitie s pertain to FOREIGN matters only. You will not be involved unless you are corresponding to a foreign source that is suspected of being involved in matters the US government wants to know about. Same goes for Jimmy Carter.

Plus I can think and do basic grammar-school math to know it is physically impossible for one agency using a few hundred analysts on this program to monitor and read hundreds of billions of emails sent daily while at the same time listening to the tens of billions of telephone conversations daily.

The metadata program DOESNOT involve reading emails or listening to conversations, it only analyzes records to look for patterns of communication by terrorist groups. Finding patterns is what intelligence work is.
 
 
+1 # ljslotnick 2014-03-26 21:29
Tabonsell: You are the one who is blissfully ignorant...and missing President Carter's point. If he is communicating with, for example, Palestinian leaders via email, you can bet those emails are being monitored word for word. Because Palestinian interests run in direct opposition to the AIPAC-funded US Conresses' interests.
 
 
-3 # tabonsell 2014-03-27 02:35
I am not ignorant; I know what the deal is. I know the program; I know the people. I know the lengths the agency goes through to protect everyone's privacy.You are the ignorant one and appear to be in a panic to imagine what has already been told to you is a physical impossibility.

Anything Carter emails would be looked at ONLY if the person he is corresponding with has been identified as a terrorist suspect (don't think Carter corresponds with those people).

If Carter corresponded with someone in Palestinian leadership his/her being tabbed for suspicion would have to be determined by the "traffic analysis" so many of you in a panic mode want to shut down. Once that suspicion was raised, the agency would need a warrant to record any email or conversation. After recording the transmission, it would go through a computer unseen by human eyes to find if there are any code words that would warrant a reading or listening. If there are no code words, the transmission is never looked at or examined in any way. If there are code words, the agency would need another warrant to read or listen to the message. Do you think the court would authorize the reading of an email sent by a former president of the United States?

If there is nothing to suspect a threat to the nation the entire email is forgotten.That is why the agency hirers ONLY people with extremely high intelligences and have character beyond questioning. You would be lucky to have half their character.
 
 
0 # tedrey 2014-03-31 02:58
And all the Snowden documents are made up? Even the NSA has had to admit they are authentic. And they disprove what you write here.
 
 
+40 # Chris54321 2014-03-24 10:12
Many of us feel we have less to fear from monitoring than President Carter; but the fact that he fears monitoring shows why we all have a LOT to fear. I worry that I and the country as a whole will be shut out from knowing the truth in many areas when journalists and anyone who opposes government policies are being monitored and personal information that may be used against them (or their sources) is slipped to the tabloids, the IRS, local police whomever. This is not a fantasy. We know it is appending now in various areas of laws enforcement and we have no guarantee that it is not also happening (or will not also happen) in the political arena - as it already did when the FBI spied on Martin Luther King and anyone active in resisting the war in Vietnam. Given the technology it may be difficult/impos sible to totally prevent it but at the least we should do everything we can to make it illegal and to aggressively enforce laws against it.
 
 
+20 # fredboy 2014-03-24 10:33
Now we've got to turn this thing around: From now on, in every e-mail, let's ask the NSA for money! I am serious! Ask for a contribution, help for a friend, a few bucks to put toward your next car. Ask and ask and ask. Let's turn this lemon into lemonade, folks! Ask, ask, and ask. Never stop asking. :)
 
 
+9 # Lowflyin Lolana 2014-03-24 15:46
Excellent idea. Or, invite your case worker at your local Fusion Center to return the favor and reveal his/her identity.
 
 
+47 # goodsensecynic 2014-03-24 10:36
Mr. Carter's presidency can be (and has been) criticized from both the left and the right. Some of those criticisms are valid. The worst thing he ever did, however, was to lose to Ronald Reagan. That began the slide into unfettered neoliberalism to which all subsequent presidents have either actively contributed or failed utterly to prevent.

As it stands, however, Mr. Carter may be the greatest FORMER president in the country's history ... certainly since World War II and possibly ever.
 
 
+41 # tedrey 2014-03-24 11:39
Leaving aside the ranking of "great" presidents. Jimmy Carter is the greatest PERSON to have been president in my time.
 
 
+42 # reiverpacific 2014-03-24 12:16
Quoting goodsensecynic:
Mr. Carter's presidency can be (and has been) criticized from both the left and the right. Some of those criticisms are valid. The worst thing he ever did, however, was to lose to Ronald Reagan. That began the slide into unfettered neoliberalism to which all subsequent presidents have either actively contributed or failed utterly to prevent.

As it stands, however, Mr. Carter may be the greatest FORMER president in the country's history ... certainly since World War II and possibly ever.


Yep, that was a classical example of voter manipulation and gerrymandering, as Bush the senior and the CIA did deal with the "Hated" Iranian hijackers to keep the hostages there until this had assured Reagan's election, after Carter had brokered the deal and was anxiously awaiting their release and flight to Germany.
And the stupid US voters bought it hook, line and stinker, just like they bought the lies that led to "Shock and Awe" and the destruction and desecration of yet another Middle east country that was not direct threat.
Again the wrong people are in jail, and I hope the Nasty Spy Agency enjoys reading this!
 
 
+22 # cordleycoit 2014-03-24 10:39
Face it America has been slipping into a mindless mass of manipulated minds since the days of the Palmer Raids. People who work for peace are considered dangerous, while Chicken Hawks are considered patriots. In Carters days in office we the ecology oriented left were considered enemies of the state who the FBI attacked with bombs, beatings and"accidental" deaths (Silkwood and Bari.) I am glad Cartier saw though that. I am glad when he sits at the peace table. Here and now the oligarchs have brought out the atomic Honey Dripper to frighten the people into carrying on a world of threats and slavery for the people and indolence for the rich.
 
 
+14 # Activista 2014-03-24 10:41
NSA is run by NEOCONS/Israel - sharing data with Israel - check who is the target -
NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans' data with Israel ...
www.theguardian.com › ... › World news › The NSA files‎
The Guardian
Sep 11, 2013 - Read the NSA and Israel's 'memorandum of understanding' ... House, cabinet departments, and independent agencies), the US House of ...
 
 
+50 # DaveM 2014-03-24 10:49
Jimmy Carter, the greatest living example of what happens to an honest politician in modern America. Remember, he EARNED his Nobel Peace Prize. And even then there was a 20 year delay in receiving it.
 
 
+5 # Tigre1 2014-03-24 11:21
Privacy has been an outmoded concept for at least twenty-five years. Every data base on the planet can be hacked, no exceptions. The computer enhanced secrecy...and then abolished it, as more people depended on the computer and more people learned to hack it...

This your world: figure out the handles, buttons,chips, whatever that give you leverage...and use them in your life seeking freedom and effectiveness.
 
 
+8 # Doubter 2014-03-24 13:01
ALL mail to and from the US & foreign countries was monitored and censored during WWII as was all overseas soldiers mail. (I had to write on only one side of the paper so the parts they cut out wouldn't affect the writing on the opposite side.)
I think Mr. Carter is being naive if he trusts the mail service more than the internet. I 'suppose' they aren't monitoring ALL our mail, as they are our internet footprint, but they are almost certainly monitoring persons of interest.
 
 
+6 # Anonymot 2014-03-24 13:36
I heard the same with an explanation of how, because I thought it was impossible. The person worked for the postal service.
 
 
+25 # polfrosch 2014-03-24 12:02
Jimmy Carter was president when I finished school and joined the military.

At that time the USA was mighty cool in Germanyland, it had a good name. We all listened to AFN radio, the station with the best music, and thought: people who have something like this in their military can´t be all bad. California was dreamland.

When I went to university a US guest professor, a kind man, no right wing bully, called Carter a "wet rag". I was a bit saddened but had to agree Carter did not have "fortune". (as Napoleon called it.)

Still, critizing the USA in a fundamental way was beyond me and nearly all of my friends. USA meant liberty.

So many things have changed since then.

Now Jimmy Carter is the US president I feel the highest respect for. I admire his honesty and good will. He speaks out, does good and has no fear.

In a way he is comparable to pope Francis, another unlikely hero, or Nelson Mandela. Wise old men.

It´s may be this I want to say: Thank you, Jimmy Carter. You are a proof I should believe in the american spirit. Without you, Edward Snowden, Noam Chomsky and Jesse Ventura I wouldn´t be shure.
 
 
+15 # Nel 2014-03-24 12:06
From President Carter down, we are all terrorized.
 
 
+19 # Jim Young 2014-03-24 12:41
Jimmy Carter is the one President I would rather have as a neighbor than any of the others.
 
 
+10 # dyannne 2014-03-24 12:45
I saw "Dirty Wars" last night. It's a bit off topic, but we have a LOT to fear, and government spying on us is just one of the many horrors.
 
 
+13 # Archie1954 2014-03-24 13:09
The "intelligence" agencies (forgive the oxymoron) have gone rogue and the political elite allowed them to do so. The blame is on the various Administrations over the years and the various Congresses that should have been monitoring them.
 
 
+7 # Juanbaltimore 2014-03-24 13:23
I believe that the reason the Post Office is in the process of being dismantled and done away with, is precisely because communications can't be easily monitored without them being physically opened. Not only is this happening ion the US but in Canada as well, where Canada Post has a five year plan to end home delivery.
 
 
+6 # Cassandra2012 2014-03-24 17:42
More likely because FEDEX and UPS want the bu$ine$$ and have the lobbyists/ shills to effect this. Ever try to get something delivered by UPS on Sat. or at an hour when you are actually home?
 
 
-13 # George D 2014-03-24 13:39
It's in the news a lot these days; The government is spying on us. They're gathering my emails, my cell-phone information, my credit information; Basically everything about me. What are they planning to do to me? Am I going to be rounded up and arrested or targeted by the IRS or the FBI if they don't like what I'm saying?

I understand the ideal of maintaining our privacy. I also understand that we live in a time when our privacy is very much under our own control. I know many people that don't use cell-phones (let alone "Smart Phones") and don't use the Internet at all. They have blocked phone numbers on their land-lines and live in a state of paranoia. Then I know the people that have and use every electronic device and media available to them. And they demand that the government both "protect them" and "leave them alone" at the same time. In short, the "me" generation has come of age and retains the same "me" attitude in their later years that they had as a youth. "I want MY Social Security, Medicare, etc, but to hell with future Americans. I want MY government to protect ME, and I want to be able to have EVERYTHING available to me at no cost."

The real irony in all of this is that the attitude toward the government is based on no real threat at all. It's a sort of morphing of memories of the 40's, with fears of the 21st century. Do any of these people know anyone that has been targeted by the government because of what they had to say?
 
 
-13 # George D 2014-03-24 13:42
.............Continued..............
I mean really; I see massive numbers of private citizens on camera and on the Internet calling our president and members of Congress every name in the book, lying about what they say and what they intend to do to all of us and yet, oddly enough, no arrests, no jailing, not even any threats of doing so. Of course, there's the Valeria Plame issue where "our" government actually DID try to ruin people's lives and DID use government power to retaliate against people that were trying to tell us the truth about Iraq, but that doesn't really count, does it?
But I digress.

My main point is that people need to decide for themselves what they want to risk for what they want to enjoy in life. If you want the government to protect you from the threats posed by a 21st Century technology base, you need to trust that government with some of your information, as you use that same technology. If you don't trust that government with your data, then you need to stop expecting any protection from the government as you use the "goodies" you demand, and instead accept the damage that those same goodies" can cause to you by the villains in the world. You can't have it both ways.
 
 
-4 # George D 2014-03-24 13:45
.........Contin ued............ .........
But I can hear the whines and the screams of the spoiled masses now. "Why can't I have protection AND privacy? That's what I want." What you "want" doesn't matter in a world built on reality. That's something you needed to learn as you grew up, but apparently never did. And, just for the record; The government isn't "spying" on "you". The government doesn't give a rats ass about "you". I know that's hard to believe, since the world revolves around you, in your own mind, but that is also part of the "reality" you fail to grasp.

I wrote this as a Godot article but RSN hasn't been "approving" my articles since I started trying to tell them that ten bucks a month is a bit too high to ask for donations. I am happy to give five bucks a month but I guess that's just not enough.

Oh; Yes I have done the dreaded "one time" donations at 20 bucks a couple times a years.
 
 
+13 # Blackjack 2014-03-24 13:58
You must have missed the arrests, beatings, and general hooliganism targeted at Occupiers!
 
 
-9 # George D 2014-03-24 14:18
The topic was Internet privacy issues, not civil disobedience. It may not seem like there's a difference but there is.

The people beaten during the Occupy movement were being dealt with one on one by a local cop. I wasn't there to see what happened and what provoked the behaviors involved but I know the pepper spray incident had negative repercussions for the police and strengthened the message of the people protesting.

Who do you know that was arrested for publishing ANYTHING on the Internet or saying ANYTHING in an email? How about over their telephone? Or in a text?
 
 
-12 # George D 2014-03-24 14:20
I've seen more censorship right here on RSN than in any government run system.
 
 
+9 # reiverpacific 2014-03-24 16:14
Quoting George D:
I've seen more censorship right here on RSN than in any government run system.


So why the fuck don't ya go back to the US owner-media empty bucket of of patsy echo-chamber infotainment and breath in their hashish that passes for news if you think RSN is "censored", or even more appropriately, to the "Fair and balanced" fantasy disguised as blatant lying run by Ruppie Muck-doc, his spawn and acolytes?!
I suppose that you think "Democracy now!" is "censored" too -if you've even heard of it.
Internet privacy is like medical care or the right to freedom of speech and action in the commons -a human right therefore interference and abuse of it merits "civil disobedience" as you so scurrilously call it.
Have you ever hit the streets and confronted the Darth Vader squad or former cops over anything?
If not, belt-up and leave the real resistance to those of us who have and will again!
 
 
-6 # George D 2014-03-24 21:12
Well you certainly have a talent for spewing ignorance. I knew just which button to push and you responded as predicted. With an intelligent answer to my question? Of course not.
Enjoy being a UK/EU citizen as you spew your rants on an American Progressive venue.
More to accomplish? Well, well. What might that be? And just where do I find you listed as one of the "hero statesmen" of our time?
You never fail to bring the dialog on RSN to a new low. And that's why RSN is worth about five bucks a month to me and not a dime more.
The entertainment factor is worth that much, if the educational factor is suffering under comments from the peanut gallery.
 
 
0 # tedrey 2014-03-31 03:02
Yes.
 
 
+13 # tigerlillie 2014-03-24 14:02
Now they will probably start opening his mail.
 
 
+7 # Kiwikid 2014-03-24 14:54
Exactly what I thought, tigerlillie - now he's told them what he does. Presumably he has 'security' - every time he heads for the post office.....
 
 
+4 # polfrosch 2014-03-24 17:25
They don´t have to.

The USA photographs every mail item and will deliver sender and adressee data to the police if requested.

In Germany there are treaties enforced by the USA: the adress data (sender and adressee) of every letter or package sent by mail from Germany to the US have to be transmitted in advance of the physical transportation.

Alledgedly here only the adresses, not the names are stored. I doubt that.

You can put your letter in aluminium foil. Some people consider that prudent.
 
 
+9 # Blackjack 2014-03-24 15:31
Occupiers were targeted by "a local cop." You don't think there was direction from above the cop food chain? You didn't notice that it happened in dozens of places in dozens of cities and states over a several month period of time?

RSN may "censor" vulgarities, but I don't notice them censoring other things, like self-imposed ignorance.
 
 
+2 # Saberoff 2014-03-24 18:19
I think one of the most interesting things Carter says here is that he puts letters, etc., in the mail.

Probably why The Bigs are trying to do away with it (USPS).
 
 
+1 # reiverpacific 2014-03-24 21:37
Quoting George D:
Well you certainly have a talent for spewing ignorance. I knew just which button to push and you responded as predicted. With an intelligent answer to my question? Of course not.
Enjoy being a UK/EU citizen as you spew your rants on an American Progressive venue.
More to accomplish? Well, well. What might that be? And just where do I find you listed as one of the "hero statesmen" of our time?
You never fail to bring the dialog on RSN to a new low. And that's why RSN is worth about five bucks a month to me and not a dime more.
The entertainment factor is worth that much, if the educational factor is suffering under comments from the peanut gallery.


Congratulations on responding as I predicted but you haven't answered any of my challenges as a patronizing bland, PC, milquetoast, sniping fink.,
Sorry, I didn't mean to get down to your own low so that's it from me.
"Avaunt, and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee.
Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold.
Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
Which thou dost glare with!"
I hope that that's sufficiently "Low" for you and better put than I ever could.
BTW, look up the difference between "Mediation" and "Censorship" if you have the means about you and take the stick out -I can forgive almost anything but humorlessness, which you demonstrate with every sentence.
 
 
0 # George D 2014-03-24 21:41
President Carter's message should be taken as advice and not lamented. People on RSN howl about the NSA because they are ignorantly ignoring the many other Internet privacy thieves that do actual harm on a daily basis. It's just vogue these days to be antigovernment.
The answer is simple; Use electronic media at your own risk and with care.
 
 
-1 # George D 2014-03-24 21:41
President Carter's message should be taken as advice and not lamented. People on RSN howl about the NSA because they are ignorantly ignoring the many other Internet privacy thieves that do actual harm on a daily basis. It's just vogue these days to be antigovernment.
The answer is simple; Use electronic media at your own risk and with care.
 
 
+1 # Activista 2014-03-25 23:21
I agree - my Internet is affected more by spam for crap from China, than NSA.
On Yahoo my comments to:
US says glad 'noxious' UN rights envoy for Palestine leaving
Yahoo News ‎- 1 day ago
From Yahoo News:
news.yahoo.com/u-says-glad-noxious-u-n-rights-envoy-231359232.html
U.S. says glad 'noxious' U.N. rights envoy for Palestine leaving ..
my comments ere wiped within 2 seconds - I doubt that it was NSA ..
Internet is infected ... learn ...
 
 
-1 # George D 2014-03-26 17:29
Yes, and that SPAM is the tip of the iceberg. It's generally "targeted" SPAM, based on sites you've visited or items you've purchased. Even that is benign, in the face of password and identity thieves that are using the Internet all over the world, and terrorists that use it to possibly coordinate another attack somewhere.

I used to believe that Progressives were the "smart" people; That a reasoned debate could occur on sites like RSN. What I've learned in recent years is that Progressives have as many echo chamber morons as the Tea-Party, and they post their venom and ignorance on this site to "feel better" much of the time. It's a sad reality, but reality just the same.

The higher the ignorance is the stronger the language and more offensive the snarls are. You know who you are, and so do the rest of the readers of these posts; "Negative" and "Positive" votes notwithstanding .
 
 
-1 # barbaratodish 2014-03-28 00:33
Why is Jimmy Carter allowed to remain free while being paranoid, whereas if I said or wrote the very same thing (namely "I believe if I send an email it will be moniotred") I would be diagnosed and locked up (as being paranoid AND suffering from Altzheimers, dementia, etc)? lol BTW, Jimmy, you first have to get an email address! Try peanuts.com!
 

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