10-08-21 03:43:00, Tucker Carlson speaks onstage during Politicon 2018 at Los Angeles Convention Center on October 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Politicon )
The independent watchdog agency which investigates potential wrongdoing by the National Security Agency (NSA) announced on Tuesday morning that it has opened an investigation into “recent allegations that the NSA improperly targeted the communications of a member of the U.S. news media.” Though the oversight unit, the NSA’s Office of the Inspector General, did not specify the journalist in question, the statement leaves no doubt that the investigation pertains to news reports that the identity of Fox News host Tucker Carlson had been improperly “unmasked” and illegally revealed within the intelligence community.
The full statement from the Inspector General reads:
The NSA’s Inspector General, Robert P. Storch, is a long-time Executive Branch functionary. He was first appointed to this position by President Obama in 2016 but failed to receive Senate confirmation. He was then re-appointed by President Trump in 2018 and the Senate then confirmed him. A widely respected bureaucrat in Washington, he also previously served as deputy Inspector General in Obama’s Justice Department, and, prior to that, was a federal prosecutor. It is, to put it mildly, difficult to imagine him opening an investigation into frivolous allegations.
The scandal began when Carlson announced on his show in late June that he had heard from a source inside the government that the NSA was in possession of his communications, as proven by their knowledge of what he was doing. The NSA then issued a meaningless non-denial denial, insisting that the Fox host “has never been an intelligence target of the Agency.” Even Fox’s critics acknowledge the irrelevance of that claim: there are many ways for the NSA to spy on an American citizen without having them be a formal “target” of the agency. In a follow-up interview on Fox, Carlson said he was told by a second source that the NSA had discovered his attempts to interview Russian President Vladimir Putin and viewed leaking of that information as potentially damaging to his reputation.