The National Security Agency (NSA) issued a rare public statement Tuesday denying claims 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.
“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 continued. “We target foreign powers to generate insights on foreign activities that could harm the United States. With limited exceptions (e.g. an emergency), NSA may not target a US citizen without a court order that explicitly authorizes the targeting.”
On Tuesday’s edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight”, the host called the NSA statement “infuriatingly dishonest” and “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,” Carlson stated. “That’s what we said. Tonight’s statement from the NSA does not deny that.”
Carlson recounted unsuccessful attempts by his producers to contact NSA Director Gen. Paul Nakasone and described the agency’s claim that he had never been an “intelligence target” as “a complete non sequitur.”
“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.
“‘We can’t tell you and we won’t tell you why we can’t tell you,’” a visibly agitated Carlson concluded. “My emails! And the message was clear: ‘We can do whatever we want. We can read your personal texts, we can read your personal emails, we can send veiled threats your way to brush you back if we don’t like your politics. We can do anything. We’re our own country, and there’s literally nothing you can do about it. We’re in charge, you are not.’ Orwellian does not begin to describe the experience.”
Carlson also dismissed White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s response when asked for comment earlier Tuesday about his allegations.
“Well, the NSA … is an entity that focuses on foreign threats and individuals who are trying, attempting to do us harm on foreign soil,” Psaki said. “So, that is their purview. But beyond that, I would point you to the intelligence community.”
“It’s like she’s reading the Wikipedia entry,” Carlson sniped.
Carlson initially claimed Monday that a “whistleblower within the US government” had reached out to warn him of the alleged surveillance.
“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.”
Carlson went on to claim that “the Biden administration is spying on us. We have confirmed that … This is scary and we need to stop it right away.”
A Fox News spokesperson referred the Post to Carlson’s on-air remarks when asked for comment Tuesday night.