Tucker Carlson was talking to U.S.-based Kremlin insiders about arranging an interview with Russian president Vladimir Putin shortly before he claimed he was spied on by the NSA, according to a report.
On June 28, Carlson told his three million viewers that the day before, he had heard ‘from a whistleblower within the U.S. government who reached out to warn us that the NSA is monitoring our electronic communications and is planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off the air.’
The NSA took the highly unusual step of denying his allegation, but Carlson has insisted that his emails were intercepted.
He said the whistleblower knew details that could only have come from his email.
Tucker Carlson, the Fox News host, on Wednesday doubled down on his claims that the NSA had spied on his emails in June. Carlson, according to Axios, was trying to set up an interview with Vladimir Putin at the time
Carlson was speaking to Kremlin insiders, based in the U.S., at the time that he claimed he was spied on by the NSA, Axios reported. The Fox News host was hoping to secure an interview with Putin
Joe Biden met Vladimir Putin in Geneva on June 16. On June 28 Carlson told his viewers he had been spied on by the NSA, because a whistleblower told him the contents of his emails were being discussed
Putin met Joe Biden in Geneva on June 16.
It was unclear who Carlson was speaking to, and the interview with Putin never materialized.
Sources told Axios that U.S. government officials learned about Carlson’s efforts to secure the Putin interview. Carlson learned that the government was aware of his outreach, and so accused the NSA of spying on him.
Carlson on June 28 said he learned of the alleged spying on his show thanks to ‘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.’
Carlson said that the whistleblower ‘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 added: ‘The Biden administration is spying on us. We have confirmed that.’
The NSA on June 29 responded with a highly unusual denial. The intelligence agency does not normally comment on its activities.
The NSA denied the targeting of Carlson, but did not deny that his communications were incidentally collected.
On June 29, the NSA denied that Carlson was ‘an intelligence target’
The NSA, in their June 29 statement, denied that Carlson had been deliberately targeted. But they did not deny that may have been incidentally swept up in their surveillance of foreign targets
They tweeted: ‘On June 28, 2021, Tucker Carlson alleged that the National Security Agency has been ‘monitoring our electronic communications and is planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off the air.’
‘This allegation is untrue. 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. 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.’
Carlson on Wednesday doubled down on his claims, telling his Fox News colleague Maria Bartiromo that he was convinced of the espionage.
Carlson on Wednesday provided more detail to support his June 28 claim. He said he was at a funeral in Washington when someone told him the NSA was aware of the contents of his emails. He said he had learnt, on Tuesday, that the content of his emails was about to be leaked
Tucker Announces That He Was Contacted By A Journalist Yesterday Who Informed Him The NSA Leaked His Emails To Journalists
“They’re not allowed to spy on American citizens, they are.” pic.twitter.com/Lq6BPHNXJ4
— The Columbia Bugle ¿¿¿¿ (@ColumbiaBugle) July 7, 2021
‘You don’t go on TV lightly to say the government is spying on me because you sound like a crazy person,’ he said.
‘And of course you would never say that unless you knew it was true. And I did know it was true, almost accidentally.
‘I was in Washington for a funeral last week and ran into someone I know well, who said I have a message for you. And then proceeded to repeat back to me details from emails and texts that I sent, and had told no one else about. So it was verified.
‘This person said, look, the NSA has this, and that was proven by the person repeating back the contents of the email, and is going to use it against you.’
Carlson said that only his executive producer knew about the communication in question and that he did not mention it to anybody else, including his wife.
The people receiving the emails and texts could, of course, have been monitored.
‘Now, to be totally blunt with you, I would never have said this in public if it was something I felt was wrong or illegal or immoral. They don’t actually have anything on me, but they do have my emails,’ Carlson said.
‘But I knew they were spying on me. As a defensive move, I thought I better say this out loud.
‘I do have a megaphone. So I should say this out loud, and I did.
‘The NSA didn’t deny it.
‘Then yesterday I learnt that – and this is going to come out soon – the NSA leaked the contents of my emails to journalists, in an effort to discredit me.
‘I know because I got a call from one of them, saying this is what your email is about.
‘It is not in any way a figment of my imagination. It is confirmed, it is true.
‘They are not allowed to spy on journalists – they are.
‘I think more ominously they are using the information they gather to put leverage and threaten opposition journalists. It is happening to me right now and I think it is shocking, and we should not put up with it in a free country.’
Carlson said that the NSA ‘routinely’ gives information on U.S. citizens to the Department of Justice, which is illegal. He said two FBI sources told him of the surveillance.
Carlson said it was ‘a totally dysfunctional, out-of-control system.’
He added: ‘Someone needs to step up and say: this is scary, we need to stop it now.’