Political Insider

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Jimmy Carter says NSA has 'gone to extremes' under Obama administration

Former President Jimmy Carter, on a media blitz for a new book, has already talked about his preference for snail mail because he fears the National Security Agency is snooping through his email (and the NSA's outgoing chief has assured him he can abandon the stamps.)

Our AJC colleague Shelia Poole asked him to elaborate today. Here's what he had to say:

“When I was president I was very careful not to let the intelligence agencies spy on people,” he said. “Now, of course, the NSA is well-known. They record almost every telephone call in America, and every cellphone call and email. I think they’ve gone to extremes to take advantage of every loophole in the law. … In the last two or three years when I want to write a very private message to someone and I don’t particularly want the U.S. government to know about it, I just handwrite it and mail it.”

The former president also said it was "inevitable" that Russia would annex Crimea.

“No one could have prevented (President Vladimir) Putin from taking over Crimea, no matter what kind of sanctions or threats we made,” he said. “Crimea has always been considered as a kind of an integral part of Russia. But I think we need to stop Putin at that border, and we need to take very stern warnings to him that we will carry out if he goes any further and I don’t think he will.”

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.