Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from the state of Kentucky, has now demanded an investigation be launched into the National Security Agency after Fox News host Tucker Carlson made allegations that the government agency is spying on his news program and attempting unmask his email correspondence.
Last Wednesday, the pundit and Fox News host claimed that the NSA had illegally leaked private messages to members of the media after a report was published by Axios that revealed he was attempting to set up an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He also alleges that the NSA is spying on his TV show and trying to get it removed from being broadcast.
“I write to you to demand that you investigate the National Security Agency’s (NSA) alleged spying and unmasking of Tucker Carlson, as well as any leaks of his private emails from the NSA to other reporters,” the Kentucky senator stated in a letter sent to NSA Director Gen. Paul Nakasone.
Paul went on to insist that Carlson is entitled to “the freedom of the press protections guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
After Carlson’s first allegations, the NSA issued a statement on June 29 denying his claims, a move seldom done by the agency.
“This allegation is untrue,” the NSA spokesperson said, trying to defuse the situation. “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.”
“We target foreign powers to generate insights on foreign activities that could harm the United States,” the statement went on to say. “With limited exceptions (e.g. an emergency), NSA may not target a US citizen without a court order that explicitly authorizes the targeting.”
Paul, however, went on to note that the NSA is an organization that has a “long train of abuses,” which proves the agency is not one that can be trusted.
“I am open-minded enough to believe, if given convincing evidence, that the NSA may be telling the truth, but when a long train of abuses conducted by the NSA evinces a consistent design to evade the law and violate the constitutionally-protected liberties of the people, the NSA must do more than tweet a carefully worded denial to be trusted,” Paul wrote.
In late June, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tasked Republicans on the Intelligence Committee to investigate the NSA over concerns of “politicization.”
There has been a “disturbing trend” at the agency, the California Republican said, following the Biden administration’s move to sideline Michael Ellis, a top NSA lawyer picked by former President Donald Trump. McCarthy also insisted the agency has “refused to deliver information requested by the Republican Members on the House Intelligence Committee.”
The latest incident outlined by McCarthy was Carlson’s claims.
“The NSA cannot be used as a political instrument, and House Republicans will ensure accountability and transparency,” McCarthy went on to say.
The top Republican then stated that he had some “serious questions” concerning the allegations that have been made by Carlson.
“Now, there is a public report that NSA read the emails of Fox News host Tucker Carlson,” he said, going on to add, “Although NSA publicly denied targeting Carlson, I have serious questions regarding this matter that must be answered.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from the state of Florida, has also started to call for an independent inspector general to take a look into Carlson’s allegations.
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