Carter says NSA domestic eavesdropping 'illegal'

[JURIST] Former US President Jimmy Carter [official profile] said Monday that President Bush [official website] overstepped his constitutional powers by authorizing the NSA's domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive]. The former president was also critical of Monday's testimony [JURIST report] from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee in defense of the program. Carter called Gonzales' claims that the program is legal under Article 2 of the Constitution and the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [text], passed while Carter was in office, "ridiculous."

Though the administration argues that the program is vital to national security [White House position paper] and the war on terror, Carter said he was certain that the Supreme Court would find the case unconstitutional. Calling the decision whether to sign FISA one of the most important decisions during his time in office, Carter said he would be willing to testify before Congress on the intent behind the law. AP has more.

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