The National Security Agency’s internal watchdog has launched an investigation into allegations made by Fox News host Tucker Carlson that he was “improperly targeted” by the spy service.
A report by The Wall Street Journal said that the agency’s probe does not mention Carlson by name, but added that a source familiar with the investigation said it was tied to claims Carlson made last month that the agency had intercepted his emails.
“The review does not mention Mr. Carlson by name, but instead refers to a member of the U.S. news media. A person familiar with the matter said the review concerns Mr. Carlson,” the report stated.
News of the investigation was also reported by other journalists, including The Hollywood Reporter’s Alex Weprin.
“Inbox: The inspector general for the NSA is opening an investigation into claims the agency ‘improperly targeted’ a ‘member of the U.S. media’ aka Tucker Carlson,” he tweeted Tuesday morning.
Reuters correspondent Jan Wolfe tweeted, “The NSA’s watchdog says he’ll look into ‘recent allegations that the NSA improperly targeted the communications of a member of the US news media’ (Presumably that’s Tucker).
He added: “NSA has previously stated that ‘Tucker Carlson has never been an intelligence target of the Agency.'”
Weeks ago, Carlson shocked viewers when he revealed that a whistleblower — presumably someone inside the agency itself — informed him that emails sent by him and known only to another member of his staff were intercepted by the NSA.
Carlson would go on to explain that he was attempting to land an interview with Russia’s leader, which he defended.
“Late this spring, I contacted a couple of people I thought could help get us an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Carlson said.
“I told nobody I was doing this other than my executive producer, Justin Wells. I wasn’t embarrassed about trying to interview Putin. He’s obviously newsworthy. I’m an American citizen; I can interview anyone I want — and I plan to,” he added.
“But still, in this case, I decided to keep it quiet. I figured that any kind of publicity would rattle the Russians and make the interview less likely to happen. But the Biden administration found out anyway by reading my emails. I learned from a whistleblower the NSA planned to leak the contents of those emails to media outlets,” he said.
However, before Carlson took to the airwaves to reveal his information, Axios reported it first.
“Tucker Carlson was talking to U.S.-based Kremlin intermediaries about setting up an interview with Vladimir Putin shortly before the Fox News host accused the National Security Agency of spying on him. … [S]ources said U.S. government officials learned about Carlson’s efforts to secure the Putin interview,” the outlet noted.
A few days later, Carlson confirmed that the agency had indeed read his emails and had unmasked — revealed his identity — to media outlets, which normally is against federal law unless the agency’s director authorizes it. The NSA is currently led by U.S. Army Gen. Paul M. Nakasone; it’s not at all clear whether he authorized Carlson’s unmasking, however.
“I learned, that — and this is going to come out soon — that the NSA leaked the contents of my e-mail to journalists in an effort to discredit me. I know because I got a call from one of them saying ‘oh, this is what your e-mail was about,'” Carlson told fellow network host Maria Bartiromo.
Following Carlson’s reporting and confirmation, Fox News released a blistering statement that called out the NSA for unmasking him as “entirely unacceptable.”
“For the NSA to unmask Tucker Carlson or any journalist attempting to secure a newsworthy interview is entirely unacceptable and raises serious questions about their activities as well as their original denial, which was wildly misleading,” the network said in a statement.
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