This afternoon, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter stated that the secrecy surrounding the National Security Agency’s Internet surveillance program, PRISM, had gone too far. "I think the American people deserve to know what their Congress is doing," he told CNN.

Carter’s comments came after Ecuador appeared to pull back an offer of asylum for Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked slides detailing the surveillance operation to the Guardian and the Washington Post.

On Thursday, the U.S. had made clear to Ecuador that granting asylum to Snowden could jeopardize trade agreements between the two countries. Carter seemed to disagree with the administrations threats, saying that if Ecuador wanted to grant Snowden asylum it was their “right as a sovereign nation."

"He's obviously violated the laws of America, for which he's responsible,” Carter said of Snowden. "If the United States can acquire custody of him, I'm sure he will be brought to trial, and that's the way the law should be implemented." 

But, Carter added, “I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial."

Photo by Georgia Democrats/Flickr