A formal request was made to NSA Inspector General Robert P. Storch by three Congressman today asking that he investigate recent accusations that the spy agency was collecting electronic communications from Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Jim Jorder, James Comer, and Matt Gaetz signed the letter, representing the ranking members of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Reform Committee. In the letter, they detail that a whistleblower showed proof to Carlson that the NSA was spying on him.
The NSA’s response was telling as they claimed they had never considered Carlson to be a target. That does not mean they weren’t spying on him; NSA electronic spying often collects communications from people associated with a target. One does not have to be classified as a target of the NSA for them to commit domestic spying.
Here’s the letter:
On June 28, 2021, journalist Tucker Carlson reported that a government whistleblower had alerted him that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been monitoring his election communications. According to the whistleblower, there was a plan to leak the electronic communications to silence Mr. Carlson. Mr. Carlson disclosed how the whistleblower possessed nonpublic information that could only have come from his private electronic communications.
On June 29, the NSA issued a carefully worded statement in response to Mr. Carlson’s disclosure. The NSA called the disclosure “untrue,” alleging that Mr. Carlson “has never been an intelligence target” and “the NSA has never had any plans to take his program off the air” (emphasis added). The NSA, however, did not deny that it had collected Mr. Carlson’s communications without targeting him.
Mr. Carlson’s disclosures about the NSA’s actions are serious and the NSA’s elusive response demands further inquiry. We ask that the OIG immediately review whether the NSA collected, possessed, or obtained Mr. Carlson’s electronic communications and report to the Committee about this matter. To ensure public transparency about this issue, we request that you conduct this review in an unclassified manner to the greatest extent possible. If a full response requires the disclosure of classified information, please provide such information under separate cover.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
? ALERT: @Jim_Jordan, @RepJamesComer, and @RepMattGaetz officially request an inspector general investigation into whether the NSA collected, possessed, or obtained Tucker Carlson’s electronic communications. pic.twitter.com/A5s4ecPTZL
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) July 1, 2021
If the IG decides to investigate, and there’s no reason for him not to, then this could reopen the long-festering wound of the NSA’s domestic spying program exposed by Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers.
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