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Jimmy Carter fears NSA: 'I believe if I send an email, it will be monitored'

President Jimmy Carter believes the NSA is spying on him
President Jimmy Carter believes the NSA is spying on him Mario Tama/Getty Images

Former President Jimmy Carter says he fears his private email is monitored by the government he once led. Carter was speaking to NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell in an exclusive interview on the March 23, 2014, Sunday’s “Meet The Press.” Laughing, he explained that when he communicates with foreign leaders, he doesn't trust his own government not to spy on him.

Carter, who is America's oldest living president, revealed that hoping to protect his communications from government snoops, he writes a letter, puts a stamp on it and sends his message by "snail mail." If Carter also fears his mail is monitored, he didn't mention it as a concern. Apparently, Carter is cautious about phone calls as well.

Speaking to Mitchell regarding criticism that the National Security Agency (NSA) is treading on privacy rights, gathering intelligence under the guise of protecting the American homeland, Carter denounced the NSA, saying, that excuse for intelligence gathering "has been extremely liberalized and abused by our own intelligence agencies."

Viewers may have been stunned to realize that not even a former president can feel safe from the NSA. Carter said. “I have felt that my own communications were probably monitored. And when I want to communicate with a foreign leader privately, I type or write the letter myself, put it in the post office, and mail it.

“Old-fashioned snail mail?” asked Mitchell.

“Yeah, because I believe if I send an email, it will be monitored,” Carter said.

It's interesting that this shocker failed to meet the sound-bite value to promote the Carter and Mitchell special segment in an advanced clip released by NBC. That clip, available over on Yahoo!, focuses on the much softer response Carter gave when asked if President Obama reached out to Carter for his expertise or advice. Carter gently acknowledged that his vision for Middle East policies was not in sync with how President Obama wanted to proceed.

Saying he understood the President's sensitivities, Carter explained that "in dealing with the issue of peace in between Israel and Egypt," his Carter Center took a very strong, public position of "equal treatment between the Palestinians and the Israelis." Carter added, " I think this was a sensitive area in which the president didn't want to be involved.”

From this interview, it seems Carter has his own areas of sensitivities and being spied upon by the NSA is one of them. One wonders if the first thing President Obama will shed when he is out of office will be his Blackberry. If former presidents of our nation aren't safe from government spying, who is?

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