Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Wednesday, July 7, went all out on how the National Security Agency (NSA) planned to sabotage his reputation via the emails that they intercepted from him.
The NSA released a statement denying the accusations, but Carlson dictated from their explanation that they were dodging the confirmation if they indeed ran through his emails or not. The White House produced the same opaque attitude, skipping the real answer.
On the Wednesday show, the prime-time host of Fox News revealed that the emails targeted were those that belong to his plan of securing an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. An intention that only one other person knew about—his executive producer, Justin Wells.
“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 said.
His attempts for the interview were intended to be private as a measure to ensure its likelihood of happening.
“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.”
According to the Fox News host, the NSA picked on the sensitivity of an American wanting any exchanges with a Communist leader well known for his dictatorship and intended to leak his plan to the news media to sabotage his image.
“He runs domestic disinformation campaigns. He lies to the public. He punishes people for opposing him, or for believing the wrong things. He even uses intelligence agencies to spy on his own citizens. Beyond the pale stuff,” he said. “So no decent American would interview Vladimir Putin, at least no reporter from Fox News.”
“And yesterday, as noted, we learned they actually did it,” Carlson noted, saying his name was “unmasked” unlawfully.
“People in the building learned who I was and then my name and the contents of my emails left that building at the NSA and wound up with a news organization in Washington. That is illegal.”
When an American citizen corresponds with foreign nationals under surveillance, their name may be “unmasked” to officials if they request it from the intelligence agency under proper security clearance. The requested name of the individual can only be disclosed by the agency to the official who asked for it, and public notice is considered illegal.
“By law, I should have been identified internally merely as a U.S. journalist, or American journalist. That’s the law,” Carlson stressed.
Not very long after Carlson updated his recital, National Security Attorney Bradley Moss on Twitter repeated the same denial, saying the agency came across his name by chance as they were monitoring Putin’s “cronies.”
“So NSA didn’t spy on Tucker. They weren’t trying to get him taken off the air,” wrote Moss. “They appear to have been surveilling Putin’s cronies. Tucker’s e-mails were incidentally collected. No evidence NSA was the one who leaked them. No reason to believe Putin’s cronies didn’t leak them.”