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Carter criticizes drone use, domestic spying under Obama

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FILE: Nov. 5, 2013: Former President Jimmy Carter at a news conference in New York City, N.Y. (REUTERS)

Former President Jimmy Carter on Sunday criticized the Obama administration’s surveillance efforts, saying the country’s use of drones has been “abused” and that he communicates by mail with foreign leaders for fear his electronic correspondences are being watched.

“I have felt that my own communications are probably monitored,” the former Democratic president told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “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, because I believe if I send an email, it will be monitored.”

Carter has dealt with a situation similar to the one Obama faces with Russia taking over the Crimea region of Ukraine.

In 1980, he boycotted the Summer Olympics in Moscow after Russia invaded Afghanistan. However, Obama, unlike other U.S. presidents, has never consulted with him or his foundation, Carter said.

The former president said he thinks the reason is that he and Obama have differing points of view on the Israel-Palestinian situation.

“I can understand this is a sensitive issue,” Carter said. “I can live with it.”  

Carter also said the National Security Agency’s collecting data on Americans’ phone calls and Internet use and the United States’ use of drones has become “extremely liberalized and I think abused by our own intelligence agencies.”