Aug 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

NSA watchdog to investigate Tucker Carlson's allegations he was spied on

Tucker Carlson
Photo: Janos Kummer/Getty Images

The National Security Agency's inspector general announced Tuesday that it is investigating allegations that the NSA "improperly targeted the communications of a member of the U.S. news media."

Why it matters: Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed in June that a whistleblower had informed him NSA was monitoring his electronic communications "in an attempt to take this show off the air." The agency issued a statement at the time saying Carlson "has never been an intelligence target."

What they're saying: "The OIG 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," NSA Inspector General Robert Storch said in a statement.

A Fox News spokesperson said Tuesday: "We are gratified to learn the NSA’s egregious surveillance of Tucker Carlson will now be independently investigated."

  • "As we have said, 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 spokesperson added in an emailed statement.

Between the lines: Carlson was speaking with U.S.-based Kremlin intermediaries about setting up an interview with Vladimir Putin shortly before he accused the National Security Agency of spying on him, Axios' Jonathan Swan reported last month.

  • 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 that's the basis of his extraordinary accusation.
  • Axios has not confirmed whether any communications from Carlson have been intercepted, and if so, why.

Go deeper: Read Swan's full report on Carlson and Putin

Editor's note: This story has been updated with Fox News' emailed statement.

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