August 12, 2021

NSA IG Will Probe Carlson’s Spying Accusations

We still don’t know whether the NSA was spying on Tucker Carlson, but we ought to find out.

A little more than a month ago, we covered the dust-up between Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson and the National Security Agency. He said he’d been told by a whistleblower that the NSA had accessed his personal email and text messages. Why? To get him off the air, he says. The Left hates him, after all, and it has no answer for his hard-hitting style and his biting brand of ridicule.

Carlson later revealed that he’d been trying to arrange an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Is that why he was “unmasked” by the NSA? And is that sufficient grounds for spying on an American journalist – for the sin of having engaged in journalism?

As to whether the NSA was spying on him, we still don’t have a definitive answer. But if the NSA’s inspector general has his way, we’re going to find out.

That man, Robert Storch, announced Tuesday that he’s opened an investigation to determine whether the agency “improperly targeted the communications of a member of the U.S. media.” That “member,” though he’s not specifically named, is clearly Tucker Carlson. The IG’s full statement reads:

The National Security Agency Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announced that it is conducting a review related to recent allegations that the NSA improperly targeted the communications of a member of the U.S. news media. The IOG is examining NSA’s compliance with applicable legal authorities and Agency policies and procedures regarding collection, analysis, reporting, and dissemination activities, including unmasking procedures, and whether any such actions were based upon improper considerations. If circumstances warrant, the OIG will consider other issues that may arise during the review.

Storch was appointed by Donald Trump in 2018. But, as independent journalist Glenn Greenwald writes: “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.”

Here in our shop, we’ve batted this story around a bit. Carlson has a showman’s habit of overstating things at times, but no one ever got noticed and drew viewership and sold advertising by being bland. Regardless, Carlson also tends to have a good sniffer and an excellent compass. And, as someone once said, Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean folks aren’t out to get you.

On the one hand, then, we have the sensational Carlson, and on the other hand, we have thin-skinned hard-left partisans like The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple, who’s absolutely certain nothing nefarious went on between the Fox News host and the snoops at the NSA. As he dismissively wrote in a July 27 column: “The National Security Agency, as it turns out, was not conducting a scheme to spill Carlson’s communications in a plot to have him booted off the air. … An NSA examination has concluded that Carlson wasn’t targeted and that his communications were not swept up via ‘incidental collection,’ whereby the government secures emails or phone calls of U.S. citizens when they have contact with foreign nationals. Rather, Carlson’s name was merely mentioned between ‘third parties.’”

Wemple has a deep disdain for Carlson, so it’s hard to take him seriously. And, again, he works for The Washington Post.

The day after Carlson went public with his allegations in late June, the NSA released a rare non-denial denial that read, in part: “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. NSA has a foreign intelligence mission. We target foreign powers to generate insights on foreign activities that could harm the United States. With limited exceptions (e.g. an emergency), NSA may not target a US citizen without a court order that explicitly authorizes the targeting.”

Apparently, though, the aforementioned inspector general wasn’t buying it. Thus the investigation.

We have little choice but to wait and see what comes of it, but if recent history is any indication, the deck is pre-stacked against an outcome favorable to Carlson. Five years after the Democrats opened their phony Crossfire Hurricane investigation of Donald Trump and his alleged 2016 campaign collusion with Russia, no one of any significance within the Obama administration or on the Clinton campaign team that paid to get that charade started has been held to account.

Increasingly, there are two tiers of justice in this country: one for the Left, and one for the Right. And they’re both separate and unequal.

(Updated to include the likely reason for Carlson’s unmasking: his attempt to arrange an interview with Vladimir Putin.)

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