The National Security Agency (NSA), which conducts intelligence-gathering operations, has now made a rare foray into public debate to issue a debunking of a claim from Fox News host Tucker Carlson. The Fox host, who seems pretty much always eager to spread conspiratorial nonsense no matter how unhinged, claimed during a recent episode of his primetime show that his communications and those of individuals affiliated with his program had been under surveillance by the NSA, which, he also claimed, was planning to leak the materials “in an attempt to take this show off the air.” The agency fact-checked these claims — which sound like a profoundly ignorant understanding of the way that the federal government actually operates in the first place.
The NSA statement reads as follows:
‘On June 28, 2021, Tucker Carlson alleged that the National Security Agency has been “monitoring our electronic communications and is planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off the air.” This allegation is untrue. 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.’
Check out the statement below:
A statement from NSA regarding recent allegations: pic.twitter.com/vduE6l6YWg
— NSA/CSS (@NSAGov) June 30, 2021
Well, there you have it — Carlson is, to the surprise of no doubt very few outside of his base of supporters, wrong. Based on the snippet that the NSA quoted, Carlson seems to be under the impression that the NSA has targeted him and his show as part of an official or at least quasi-official operation, which is laughably bonkers. Does Carlson have any meaningful understanding of the fact that federal intelligence authorities are comprised of far more than just some guy in a dimly lit room who doesn’t like Fox? His ignorance regarding this topic mirrors the staggering ignorance of prominent Trump allies when it comes to the way that elections operate in the United States. Claims from the former president and his cohorts that last year’s presidential election was somehow rigged for Biden ignore the layers and layers of verifiable security measures under which this country’s election results operate.