The continuing saga of Tucker Carlson’s Adventures in Spying and Lying has just dropped its latest episode. In the the previous episode Carlson accused the National Security Agency of “monitoring our electronic communications and is planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off the air.” Right. Because that’s something that the NSA would devote its scarce time and resources to, rather than the international matters to which its jurisdiction is limited.
Carlson’s source for this bombshell revelation was an anonymous “whistleblower” who provided no evidence nor explanation for why the NSA would be interested in Carlson. From the outset the NSA denied that Carlson had ever “been an intelligence target of the Agency and the NSA never had any plans to try to take his program off the air.”
A statement from NSA regarding recent allegations: pic.twitter.com/vduE6l6YWg
— NSA/CSS (@NSAGov) June 30, 2021
Shortly after Carlson’s initial disclosure of the alleged plot, he declared victory when an NSA review concluded that there was no evidence supporting his claim, but that his name might have been “picked up in third-party communications and his identity was unmasked.” Which is not at all what he originally said. It would not be surprising if foreign operatives mentioned Carlson, considering his popularity with totalitarian dictators. But that is not the same as being a target of an investigation with the purpose of getting his show canceled.
The new wrinkle in this melodrama is that the NSA’s inspector General is reportedly looking into the matter. According to CBS News…
“Robert Storch, the agency’s inspector general, said his office has begun ‘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.’
“While Storch did not explicitly name Carlson, the official familiar with the matter confirmed the host’s allegations were the focus of the review.”
This is a foreseeable and appropriate review under the circumstances. There is nothing especially alarming about it. Agencies like this are expected to keep close tabs on their operations and to respond to questions as they arise. However, Fox News has jumped to the most extreme conclusions in a statement praising the agency for things it isn’t doing:
“We are gratified to learn the NSA’s egregious surveillance of Tucker Carlson will now be independently investigated, As we have said, for the NSA to unmask Tucker Carlson or any journalist attempting to secure a newsworthy interview is entirely unacceptable and raises serious questions about their activities as well as their original denial, which was wildly misleading.”
There’s so much wrong with this statement that it requires a deeper examination. First of all, this is not an investigation of “the NSA’s egregious surveillance of Tucker Carlson.” The NSA has not found any evidence of “egregious” activity or any “surveillance” of Carlson at all. Secondly, contrary to Fox’s assertion, there is no evidence that Carlson was unmasked. In fact, the first and only disclosure of his name came from Carlson himself when he first reported his false version of the story on his program.
Finally, it is downright hysterical that Fox News would refer to Carlson as a “journalist.” This is the same guy that Fox’s lawyers argued in court – successfully – could not be guilty of defamation because no reasonable person would believe anything he says. And since there has been no proof provided regarding the purpose of any tangential appearance of Carlson’s name in an NSA report, there is no way to assume that it involved a “newsworthy interview.”
The statement by Fox News was almost entirely comprised of flagrant falsehoods. So it’s ironic that Fox is accusing the NSA of being “wildly misleading”? The truth is that Fox News is doing just what they were created to do: Tell lies about anything and everything in order to advance their ultra-rightist agenda. And this sensationalized reaction to the NSA’s routine review process just affirms that Fox News isn’t really news at all.
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How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
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