Why Tucker Carlson Is Feuding with the NSA

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Phillip Faraone/Getty Tucker Carlson

The National Security Agency this week pushed back on Fox News host Tucker Carlson's claims that the agency was spying on him — issuing a statement Tuesday in which it said Carlson "has never been an intelligence target."

The denial came after a Monday episode of Carlson's show in which he said a "whistleblower" had told him that the NSA was spying on him in an attempt to destroy his show.

Per this source, Carlson claimed, "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."

Not true, the NSA responded.

"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,' " read the agency's statement, which was released on Twitter. "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."

The statement continued: "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 U.S. citizen without a court order that explicitly authorizes the targeting."

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Carlson wasn't satisfied with the agency's response — which he called "an entire paragraph of lies" — again making claims that he was being spied on in Tuesday's episode of his show.

Again, he said that someone allegedly told him the NSA "was reading out electronic communications, our emails and texts, and was planning to leak them selectively in an effort to hurt us."

He continued: "This person had details from my emails that no one outside the recipient could have known, so it was not a delusion, it was entirely real. In fact, it was confirmed."

Carlson did not give proof of this but suggested that the NSA had not offered an outright denial of his initial allegations.

"Last time on the show we made a very straightforward claim, 'NSA has read my private emails without my permission.' That's what we said," Carlson said. "Tonight's statement from the NSA does not deny that."

Carlson, one of the country's major right-wing cable news hosts, has come under scrutiny for previous explosive claims without proof — but the NSA does have a history of warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens, infamously revealed by Edward Snowden.

Last year, Carlson alleged he had a cache of documents that could be "damning" to Joe Biden's campaign for president.

Those documents were lost in the mail by UPS, which later said it found the package, though Carlson never revealed what was inside. He later implied to a reporter for Salon that the package had been intercepting because his communications were allegedly being monitored.

"The point is, someone's reading our texts," Carlson said.