The former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter, struck a blow for Edward Snowden, the whistleblower, when he reportedly said at a closed door meeting in Atlanta: “America does not have a functioning democracy at this point in time”.

Coming close on the heels of comments by the Democrat that “the invasion of privacy has gone too far and I think that is why the secrecy was excessive”, Mr. Carter’s remarks were reported by German newspaper Der Speigel , and were reportedly made at a meeting of the Atlantic Bridge, an organisation that promotes U.S.-German relations.

While there were questions surrounding the identity of Der Speigel’ s source and no other media outlets have reported on the event, Mr. Carter has been seen as “openly critical of the NSA”.

In an article for the New York Times last year, he warned the U.S. would forfeit its moral authority if it continued to strip away the civil rights of its citizens. In prior comments to CNN news the former President said that although Mr. Snowden had violated U.S. law he may have ultimately done good for the country.