Fox News host Tucker Carlson has never been one to shy away from making claims with absolutely zero basis in reality. He’s also never been one to turn down a good opportunity to play the victim. So it’s not really very surprising that he’s claiming the National Security Agency has placed him under surveillance.
During the Monday edition of his show, Carlson passed on that a “whistleblower” had informed him that the NSA is spying on him and his staff and may very well soon leak something with the intent of forcing him off the air. Carlson didn’t clarify what, exactly, the NSA is supposedly planning to leak. Nor did he offer any real reason to believe that if a leak of some sort is coming, the NSA is really involved and he isn’t just playing cover-his-arse.
“Yesterday we heard from a whistleblower within the U.S. government who reached out to warn us that the NSA is monitoring our electronic communications and is planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off the air,” Carlson told viewers, according to the Huffington Post. “Now that’s a shocking claim and normally we’d be sceptical of it,” because it’s a “crime.”
Carlson added that a person in a “position to know” had forwarded information regarding a story that Fox is working on, saying the details had to have been lifted from his texts and emails and there is “no other possible source for that information. Period. 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.”
Emails and texts are generally exchanged between two or more individuals, so his claim as to the chain of custody here is already suspicious. Carlson said that Fox News had filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the agency seeking any records relating to his information.
For months, the Fox News host has been pushing a conspiracy theory that the presence of unindicted co-conspirators in court documents related to the failed Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol indicated undercover FBI agents actively participated in the riots as part of a false flag operation. The implication there is that conservatives and Donald Trump supporters have been unfairly smeared by the FBI in some sort of entrapment operation. Carlson’s comments on Monday came at the tail end of a segment in which he argued FBI agents had prior knowledge of the planned riots (true, but not in a way that backs his point) and “confidential sources, snitches” in the crowd.
It’s certainly possible the NSA intercepted Carlson’s communications and then some Fox News-loving patriot in the national security community took it upon themselves to leak that info to Fox News. U.S. police and intel agencies have certainly monitored journalists before, with the Trump administration being no exception. It’s also possible, perhaps even incredibly likely, that Carlson is full of shit.
As the Daily Beast noted, Carlson has a long history of squirting out clouds of squid ink when he is trying to get ahead of negative press, and he’s fabricated stories about elaborate conspiracies to undermine his show, such as when a UPS package supposedly containing damning information about Joe Biden’s son was temporarily lost in transit and Carlson devoted a segment to suggesting it was stolen. At the time, Carlson claimed someone was monitoring his texts. Strangely, the supposed scoop on Biden never materialised.
In any case, if something embarrassing leaks about Carlson soon, you certainly heard it from him first.