- Fox News host Tucker Carlson accused the NSA Monday of electronically monitoring his TV show.
- The NSA released a statement Tuesday denying Carlson’s claims.
- The NSA is prohibited from targeting U.S. citizens without a court order, per an official statement.
WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency released a statement Tuesday denying a conservative television host’s claims that he is an intelligence target of the agency.
Tucker Carlson, a political commentator and host of Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight”, said Monday that the NSA is “spying” on him with intent to leak certain information to get his show canceled — an allegation the NSA firmly denied.
“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 reads.
Carlson said a whistleblower informed his show of the NSA’s actions. The television host accused the Biden administration of involvement.
“The NSA captured that information without our knowledge and did it for political reasons. The Biden administration is spying on us. We have confirmed that,” Carlson said.
Carlson’s camp filed a FOIA, or Freedom of Information Act, request Monday for alleged information collected by the NSA and other agencies. He also called on Congress to immediately “force transparency” on intelligence agencies.
“Spying on opposition journalists is incompatible with democracy,” Carlson said. “If they are doing it to us, and again, they are definitely doing it to us, they are almost certainly doing it to others. This is scary and we need to stop it right away.”
In its statement, the NSA explained that U.S. citizens cannot be targeted without a court order.
“NSA has a foreign intelligence mission. We target foreign powers to generate insights on foreign activities that could harm the United States,” the agency said. “With limited exceptions (e.g. an emergency), NSA may not target a U.S. citizen without a court order that explicitly authorizes the targeting.”
The Justice Department launched an investigation this month into whether the Trump administration and Attorneys General Jeff Sessions and William Barr improperly acquired the phone records of Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell and at least 10 other House Intelligence Committee members and their relatives.
The administration also sought and obtained phone records of journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN during leak investigations a practice suspended under the Biden administration.