Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter is so concerned about the NSA spying scandal that he thinks it has essentially resulted in a suspension of American democracy.
“America does not at the moment have a functioning democracy,” he said at an event in Atlanta on Tuesday sponsored by the Atlantik Bruecke, a private nonprofit association working to further the German-U.S. relationship. The association's name is German for “Atlantic bridge.”
Carter’s remarks didn't appear in the American mainstream press but were reported from Atlanta by the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, whose Washington correspondent Gregor Peter Schmitz said on Twitter he was present at the event. The story doesn't appear in the English-language section of the Spiegel website and is only available in German.
The 39th U.S. president also said he was pessimistic about the current state of global affairs, wrote Der Spiegel, because there was “no reason for him to be optimistic at this time.” Among the developments that make him uneasy, Carter cited the “falling of Egypt under a military dictatorship.” As president, Carter managed to get then-Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin to sign the Camp David peace agreements in 1979.
Carter said a bright spot was “the triumph of modern technology,” which enabled the democratic uprisings of the Arab Spring; however, the NSA spying scandal, Carter said, according to Der Spiegel, endangers precisely those developments, “as major U.S. Internet platforms such as Google or Facebook lose credibility worldwide.”