'Entirely Unacceptable': Fox News Slams Tucker Carlson's Reported 'Unmasking' in NSA Documents
Carlson previously accused the NSA of spying on him with the goal of closing down his highly popular conservative show. The government agency denied spying on the Fox News host, who said an NSA whistleblower showed him pieces of his private emails.
Fox News has lashed out at the NSA after the Record media outlet revealed the agency "unmasked" Tucker Carlson's identity under a government request.
"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 statement said.
The NSA "unmasked" Tucker Carlson in one of its intelligence reports compiled on the communications between third parties, the Record reported, citing two anonymous sources. The sources added that the NSA carried out a probe into Carlson's allegations that the agency had been intercepting his emails and found no signs that the TV host's communications had been targeted or obtained through the monitoring of Americans in contact with a target of surveillance.
The "unmasking" mentioned in the Record's report is a process where a select few government officials can ask the NSA to reveal the identity of an American whose name appeared in one of the agency's intelligence reports. Under US laws, intelligence agencies are obligated to obscure the names of Americans who appear in these reports, but some government officials may request "unmasking", if it's crucial for understanding the context of the intelligence piece.
NSA Denies Spying on Carlson
Fox News sees the Record's report as a confirmation of what Carlson has been saying on his show for some time – that the NSA allegedly spies on him. The host previously explained that an NSA whistleblower approached him with the information that he had been targeted. The source read out several of his private emails, purportedly intercepted by the agency, as proof. According to Carlson, this was done to later leak his correspondence and use it as a pretext for getting his popular conservative show off the air.
The NSA strongly denied the host's accusations and insisted that it is only involved in foreign intelligence and is not spying on US citizens. Carlson remained unconvinced with the agency's statement and called on the US Congress to investigate the matter. The host also revealed that at the time, when the NSA had allegedly been intercepting his communications, he was trying to secure an exclusive interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Carlson's accusations resonated with some members of Congress. Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul said he had sent a letter to the NSA Director Paul Nakasone, asking him to investigate the allegations against his agency. It is unclear if the NSA reported to the senator on any results of the probe. The NSA declined to comment on The Records revelations about Carlson's unmasking.