Jimmy Carter entrusts secrets to snail mail: NSA might monitor his email

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

letter1Former American president is aware his emails could be monitored by US intelligence agencies excessively “liberalized” under President Obama so he prefers to send letters via ‘snail mail’ to ensure the privacy of correspondence.

In an interview with the NBC TV channel Jimmy Carter said he does not trust electronic communications because they could be monitored.

“When I want to communicate with a foreign leader privately,” Carter said, “I type or write a letter myself, put it in the post office and mail it”. And I think that we all can take a leaf out of President Carter's book here.

It has become obvious that the emails of all of us, not just elder statesmen and such, are being monitored by the NSA, the CIA, GCHQ, and others and that, therefore, out email (and cell phone) communications are far from secure.

Not that long ago, in the light of the Snowden revelations, the Russian intelligence community decided to return to the use of typewriters and paper for their confidential and secret communications and files. Each and every typewriter has a so-called “fingerprint” and thus a document that has gone into the wrong hands can be traced back to an individual machine.

While email is a great tool for speedy communications the fact that more than likely every one's emails are being scrutinized by the intelligence services of the US and the UK (and that of other countries, such as Australia), as they are all in this together, especially the Five Eyes, this medium cannot be considered safe and secure. Even encrypted emails can and will be read and as no warrant is required to do this, unlike the opening and reading of postal mail, the answer to a more secure means of communication is the old one... the letter, in an envelope and entrusted to the postie or to a personal courier. And, the old method of the spies also might be of use, that of the dead letter box.

When thinking secure communications do not think encrypted email and such but think the old methods that we have been using for many centuries, even before we had the Royal Mail and other such postal services.

When former presidents and the security services no longer trust – or never trusted in the first place – computers and email then, maybe, it is time that the mere ordinary mortals took notice. And storing data “in the cloud” really is not sensible at all.

As far as letters, in envelope with stamp, are concerned the cost factor is a consideration, and not just for overseas mail but the security factor outweighs that hundred times.

Email has its place for “ordinary” communications, personal and business, but the letter, by post, courier or other ways delivered, is the only secure way for sensitive communications.

© 2014