Former president Jimmy Carter condemned the effect U.S. intelligence programs had on U.S. moral authority in the wake of NSA revelations brought to light by leaker Edward Snowden, Der Spiegel reports.
“America has no functioning democracy,” Carter said at a meeting of The Atlantic Bridge in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday.
Carter also claimed there was currently no reason for him to be “optimistic” about Egypt’s internal conflicts and mused whether the standards The Carter Center applies to foreign elections could be fulfilled by U.S. elections, which he believes are plagued by confusing campaign rules and a lack of restrictions on free speech in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.
The former president continued that democratic developments — fueled by sites such as Facebook and Twitter — might be damaged by the NSA revelations, essentially strangling emerging democratic revolutions in the cradle by casting doubt on the social media juggernauts’ independent credibility.
Carter is a strident critic of President Barack Obama’s anti-terror policies. In 2012, he penned a New York Times op-ed calling the U.S. human rights record “cruel and unusual,” denouncing the Obama administration’s drone strikes, indefinite detentions and warrantless wiretapping.
“At a time when popular revolutions are sweeping the globe, the United States should be strengthening, not weakening, basic rules of law and principles of justice enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Carter wrote. “But instead of making the world safer, America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends.”
Carter also voiced support for Snowden in June.
“He’s obviously violated the laws of America, for which he’s responsible, but I think the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far,” he told CNN. “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. I think the American people deserve to know what their Congress is doing.”
Carter received a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 to commemorate his “outstanding commitments” to human rights. Seven years later, Obama would receive the same prize — the Nobel Norwegian Committee decided to award it to him only 12 days after he assumed office in 2009.