Former President Jimmy Carter criticized the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program Monday and said he believes the president has broken the law.
"Under the Bush administration, there's been a disgraceful and
illegal decision - we're not going to the let the judges or the
Congress or anyone else know that we're spying on the American
people," Carter told reporters. "And no one knows how many
innocent Americans have had their privacy violated under this
Carter made the remarks at a union hall near Las Vegas, where
his oldest son, Jack Carter, announced his candidacy for the U.S.
The former president also rebuked Attorney General Alberto
Gonzales for telling Congress that the spying program is authorized
under Article 2 of the Constitution and does not violate the 1978
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act passed during Carter's
administration. Gonzales made the assertions in testimony before
the Senate Judiciary Committee, which began investigating the
eavesdropping program Monday.
"It's a ridiculous argument, not only bad, it's ridiculous.
Obviously, the attorney general who said it's all right to torture
prisoners and so forth is going to support the person who put him
in office. But he's a very partisan attorney general and there's no
doubt that he would say that," Carter said. "I hope that
eventually the case will go to the Supreme Court. I have no doubt
that when it's over, the Supreme Court will rule that Bush has
violated the law."
The former president said he would testify before the Judiciary
Committee if asked.
"If my voice is important to point of the intent of the law
that was passed when I was president, I know all about that because
it was one of the most important decisions I had to make."