Jimmy Carter was in Washington to chat with his friends at the WaPo. His lips were moving so we know he was saying something foolish. Here we go, as reported by the Times, on a possible Presidential pardon for Edward Snowden:
Carter Says He Would Think About Pardoning Snowden
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG MARCH 26, 2014
WASHINGTON — Former President Jimmy Carter, on a swing through the nation’s capital to promote a new book, said Wednesday that he would consider a pardon for Edward J. Snowden, the former contractor who leaked classified information about the National Security Agency. But Mr. Carter said that he was not certain he would grant one.
On Mr. Snowden, Mr. Carter at first said he would not pardon him, “because you can’t pardon someone who hasn’t been tried and convicted.”
Oh, please, read the Constitution or the newspapers, Jimmeh. Do the names "Ford and Nixon" ring a bell? Geez, that led to your (misbegotten) election!. How about "Bush and Weinberger"? Or did you hear the one about Clinton and Marc Rich?
But, he added, if Mr. Snowden came back to the United States, was tried, found guilty and faced a death sentence, “I would certainly consider a pardon, yes.”
“But I can’t say what I would do,” Mr. Carter said, “because I don’t have the information that President Obama has about the damage that has been done to our security apparatus.”
He would "consider a pardon" if Snowden were sentenced to death but "can't say" what he would do? This, from the guy who just last fall was calling for an end to capital punishment? These plot twists are tricky. Then again, a commutation is not a pardon, so maybe Jimmy would knock the sentence down from death to life without granting a full pardon.
And as a bonus, I am 99% confident that this next assertion is pure fantasy, but lack the time to pin down the last 1%:
Mr. Carter, 89, has made no secret in recent days of his disdain for the N.S.A., telling television interviewers during his book tour that he now relies on the “snail mail” of the United States Postal Service, rather than email, for sending sensitive messages. During a midday appearance at The Washington Post, he warned about the reach of the security agency.
“If you sent an email today, they recorded it,” the former president said. “If you’ve made a telephone call today, they’ve recorded it. They record the entire thing. They don’t go back and listen to your words — they say — but if they want to, later on, they can go back and listen to the exact words. I do think that needs to be corrected, and I hope President Obama will do it.”
I know the NSA keeps their own database of the metadata, which is the billing records routinely recorded by the telecom companies. But I don't recall reading that the telecoms or the NSA are routinely recording each and every call made in the United States, which is the obvious context of Mr. Peanut's remarks.
It has been reported that the NSA did "swallow up" all the phone communications in one target country on a rolling 30 day basis, and saved a tiny fraction of the voice clips for more than 30 days. But even that effort virtually exhausted their data analysis and storage capabilities; the idea that such a program is being employed in the US would merit a major headline, if true.
And even if every Valley Girl's chat with her latest girlfriend about her latest boyfriend was being recorded as per the NSA program employed abroad, Jimmy's claim that "if they want to, later on, they can go back and listen to the exact words" would only be true within the thirty day rolling window.
Ah, well. Thinking about Jimmy inspires an arithmetic problem. A stopped clock is famously right twice a day. Clearly, Jimmy has not achieved that standard. But how often is a clock that loses one second every hour right, and is Jimmy more accurate than that?