The NSA issued a rare public statement saying Mr Carlson has never been an intelligence target and it never had plans to take the show off air
The NSA has denied the allegations by Fox News host Tucker Carlson that the department had been monitoring his communications in a bid to get his top-rated show taken off the air, in a rare public statement.
“This allegation is untrue,” read the unsigned statement posted on the NSA’s Twitter account. “Tucker Carlson has never been an intelligence target of the Agency and the NSA has never had any plans to try to take his program off the air.
“NSA has a foreign intelligence mission,” the statement went on. “We target foreign powers to generate insights on foreign activities that could harm the United States. With limited exceptions (eg an emergency), NSA may not target a US citizen without a court order that explicitly authorizes the targeting.”
This rare clarification from the agency came in response to Mr Carlson’s claims on his Monday edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight”, that he is on the radar of the federal agency, basing his allegations on an unnamed source. He said a “whistleblower within the US government” had reached out to him and warned him that the NSA was spying on him.
“It’s not just political protesters the government is spying on. Yesterday, we heard from a whistleblower within the US government who reached out to warn us that the NSA, the National Security Agency, is monitoring our electronic communications and is planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off the air,” he said in the Monday edition of his prime time show.
“The whistleblower, who is in a position to know, repeated back to us information about a story that we are working on that could have only come directly from my texts and emails,” he said. “There’s no other possible source for that information, period.”
Mr Carlson also said the NSA captured his personal information for “political reasons” as he repeatedly called the agency a highly politicised one. He claimed, “the Biden administration is spying on us. We have confirmed that … This is scary and we need to stop it right away,” he added. “Spying on opposition journalists is incompatible with democracy.”
“If we let them continue to do it, it’s the end of democracy,” he said.
After the NSA statement, Mr Carlson, a staunch Donald Trump supporter who has also echoed several unsubstantiated conspiracies on his show in the past, again hit out at the agency, labelling it “infuriatingly dishonest”.
Responding to the statement on Tuesday, he said it was “an entire paragraph of lies written purely for the benefit of the intel community’s lackeys at CNN and MSNBC”.
“Last night on this show, we made a very straightforward claim: NSA has read my private emails without my permission. Period,” Mr Carlson stated on Tuesday. “That’s what we said. Tonight’s statement from the NSA does not deny that.”
He also claimed his channel tried contacting the NSA’s director general Paul Nakasone.
“The question remains: Did the Biden administration read my personal emails?” he asked. “That’s the question that we asked directly to NSA officials when we spoke to them about 20 minutes ago in a very heated conversation: Did you read my emails? And again, they refused to say. Again and again. And then, they refused even to explain why they couldn’t answer that simple question.”
Mr Carlson added that he thought “Orwellian does not even begin to describe the experience, it was like living in China.”