National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander told former Democratic President Jimmy Carter he could relax Tuesday — the signals intelligence agency isn’t spying on his email.
The general made his statement in response to an NBC Sunday interview where 39th president told journalist Andrea Mitchell he uses the Post Office to send written or typed letters to foreign leaders out of concerns over the NSA surveilling his communications.
“Well, we’re not, so he can now go back to writing emails,” Alexander said on Fox Tuesday. “The reality is we don’t do that, and if we did it would be illegal and we’d be… held accountable and responsible.”
According to Alexander, oversight from the White House, Department of Defense, Department of Justice and Congress ensures the agency stays within its legal boundaries.
“Everybody reviews what we do to see if anybody’s doing anything illegal like you suggest,” Alexander said. “No one has found anything, zero.”
Alexander’s statement came just hours after two major legislative proposals designed to overhaul NSA surveillance practices, legality, and bulk storage of Americans’ private telephone and Internet data were leaked from the White House and announced by the House of Representatives.
Carter is one of the hundreds of past and present high-profile American politicians to describe NSA surveillance practices as an “invasion of privacy” since the leaks of classified widespread spying programs by former agency contractor Edward Snowden last year. (RELATED: Jimmy Carter: ‘America no longer has a functioning democracy’)
According to Carter, the national security reasoning and legal underpinning of such surveillance “has been extremely liberalized and, I think, abused by our own intelligence agencies.”