By KATHLEEN HENNESSEY
Associated Press Writer
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 secret act."
Carter made the remarks at a union hall near Las Vegas, where his oldest son, Jack Carter, announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
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."
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.