Conservative commentator Tucker Carlson, host of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, made a stunning accusation on Monday evening: “The Biden administration is spying on us.”
Carlson told his audience of more than three million viewers that he had been contacted by “a whistleblower within the U.S. government” who warned that the National Security Agency (NSA) was monitoring the electronic communications between him and his staff.
Carlson said he believes that the leading surveillance agency is planning to leak this information “in an attempt to take this show off the air,” but he did not provide evidence to back up this claim.
Carlson then vouched for the legitimacy of his source, claiming that the whistleblower was able to repeat back information about an upcoming Tucker Carlson Tonight story “that could have only come directly from my texts and emails … there is no other possible source for that information. Period.”
If Carlson’s allegation is true, it would constitute one of the most damning revelations about the U.S. surveillance state, and the Biden administration’s usage of it, to date. Warrantless spying on Americans is plainly illegal, though the NSA appears to have made little effort to change its approach despite years of political and media scrutiny since the 2013 Snowden leaks. Furthermore, as Tucker Carlson pointed out during his Monday evening segment, there would be additional ethical concerns about a ruling government “spying on opposition journalists” and attempting to deplatform them.
There is little doubt that Carlson has made himself deeply unpopular in the U.S. intelligence circuit. He has been one of the main journalistic voices on either side of the political spectrum pushing back against what he has described as abuses of power by the deep state. Most recently, he suggested that the FBI may have played a role in fomenting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
Breaking with much of the Right, Carlson has also picked fights with the rest of the permanent Washington apparatus, in particular the leadership of the Pentagon. On Thursday last week, he caused consternation among liberal commentators after calling Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a “pig” and “stupid” for endorsing critical race theory reading materials in the military.
Carlson closed his Monday segment by stating that his team has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for what the NSA has gathered about his show. America’s leading surveillance state organ is, of course, unlikely to hand over anything useful, and indeed Carlson noted that the request was filed “mostly as a formality.”
He continued, “only Congress can force transparency on the intelligence agencies. And they should do that, immediately.” Indeed. But let us not forget that the same kind of people who run the NSA are now in control of Congress.
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