(USA Features) The National Security Agency’s inspector general is reportedly investigating why officials intercepted emails from Fox News host Tucker Carlson as well as who may have unmasked him to media outlets, reports said Tuesday.
“New: 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),” Reuters reporter Jan Wolfe tweeted.
“NSA has previously stated that ‘Tucker Carlson has never been an intelligence target of the Agency,'” he added.
The Wall Street Journal also reported on the development.
“The National Security Agency’s internal watchdog is conducting a review of recent allegations made by Fox News host Tucker Carlson that the spy agency had improperly targeted his communications for surveillance,” the paper reported Tuesday morning.
“The announcement of the review by the NSA’s inspector general 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 paper added.
In a brief statement, NSA inspector general Robert Storch said his office “is examining NSA’s compliance with applicable legal authorities and agency policies and procedures regarding collection, analysis, reporting, and dissemination activities, including unmasking procedures, and whether any such actions were based upon improper considerations.”
Earlier this summer, Carlson reported on his nightly program that a whistleblower had informed him that NSA officials intercepted emails he sent in an attempt to get an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
At the time, Carlson said only he and his show producer knew that the emails had been sent. He also told his viewers that he was able to confirm that the whistleblower was genuine when that person read the host what his emails said.
“Late this spring, I contacted a couple of people I thought could help get us an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. I told nobody I was doing this other than my executive producer, Justin Wells,” Carlson explained early last month.
“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 continued.
“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,” the host continued.
“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.”
The news outlet Axios reported on the development before Carlson had a chance to explain to his viewers what had happened.
“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,” the outlet said.
In late June after Carlson first went public with his allegations, the NSA issued a rare statement publicly denying he was targeted.
A statement from NSA regarding recent allegations: pic.twitter.com/vduE6l6YWg
— NSA/CSS (@NSAGov) June 30, 2021
Fox News blasted the NSA also after the host’s reports were confirmed.
“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.