On Monday’s broadcast of his Fox News program “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Carlson claimed that he’d heard from an unnamed government whistleblower about an alleged plan to leak his communications in order to take his show off the air.
“The Biden administration is spying on us,” he said. “We have confirmed that.”
In a statement posted on social media Tuesday, the NSA said: “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.”
It added that the agency has a foreign intelligence mission and was not permitted to target U.S. citizens without a court order.
Carlson, who has peddled COVID-19 and election disinformation, white supremacist talking points, conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6 insurrection and once encouraged viewers to call child services on parents whose kids wore face masks, pushed back against the statement during his program Tuesday night. He claimed the whistleblower “had details from my emails that no one outside the recipient could have known” and called the NSA’s statement “an entire paragraph of lies.”
Fox News did not put out an official statement about Carlson’s claims and, as Mediaite noted, the network’s other programs didn’t cover it. The network declined to comment, but it pointed to Carlson’s Tuesday segment on the matter.
Carlson’s comments were met with some skepticism online, in part due to his history of spreading falsehoods and his own network’s silence on the matter.
Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple questioned whether Carlson was “perhaps attempting to get ahead of an embarrassing news cycle or two.”
It was revealed earlier this month that phone records of reporters at The Washington Post, CNN and The New York Times were secretly seized as part of a leak investigation under the Trump administration’s Justice Department.