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According to Der Spiegel, former President Jimmy Carter railed against NSA surveillance and defended whistleblower Edward Snowden at a closed-door affair in Atlanta.

The German publication reports that Carter – while speaking at "Atlantik-Brücke" in Atlanta – sharply criticized government surveillance and the current state of American democracy in terms that went much farther than any of his previous critiques.

Carter railed against US intelligence services and said that the NSA domestic spying program uncovered by Snowden was “beneficial” for Americans to know about.

“America does not have a functioning democracy at this point in time."

While no mainstream U.S. media outlet has confirmed, or even reported upon, Der Spiegel's report, the comments would not at all be surprising.

Last year, Carter wrote a scathing op-ed in The New York Times entitled "A Cruel and Unusual Record," Carter sharply critiqued America's failure to protect human rights, both domestically and globally. He also was clear about his disdain for Americans' eroding privacy rights.

In addition to American citizens’ being targeted for assassination or indefinite detention, recent laws have canceled the restraints in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to allow unprecedented violations of our rights to privacy through warrantless wiretapping and government mining of our electronic communications. Popular state laws permit detaining individuals because of their appearance, where they worship or with whom they associate.
As pointed as Carter's critiques have been, his statement that American democracy is no longer a functioning one (as a result of our current surveillance state) would be his harshest, and most controversial, critique to date.

Coming from a former President, this is no small matter. It will be interesting to see if any other source, other than Der Spiegel, is able to confirm Carter's words.

Originally posted to David Harris-Gershon (The Troubadour) on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 08:49 AM PDT.

Also republished by Writing by David Harris Gershon and The First and The Fourth.

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