Jimmy Carter: Snowden did US a favour -

Former US President Jimmy Carter has surprised the press by saying that Edward Snowden's NSA leak as "beneficial" for the country.

Carter said that the leak proved that the US no longer had a functioning democracy and he hit out at the US political system.

According to Der Spiegel, Carter believes that the spying scandal is undermining democracy around the world. People are starting to become increasingly suspicious of US internet platforms, such as Google and Facebook.

Normally such mediums have been associated with freedom of speech and a major driving force behind emerging democratic movements.

However, fallout from the NSA spying scandal has dented their credibility, Carter said.

Carter has previously said "the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far". He added that although Snowden violated US law, he may have ultimately done good for the country.

Carter told Der Spiegel that the secrecy surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so he thinks that "the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial".

Jimmy Carter was President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. After leaving office, he founded the Carter Centre, an NGO advocating human rights.

The ex-president's human rights credentials won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. The current president's election won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.