by Glenn Greenwald
The independent watchdog agency which investigates potential wrongdoing by the National Security Agency (NSA) announced on Tuesday morning that it has opened an investigation into “recent allegations that the NSA improperly targeted the communications of a member of the U.S. news media.” Though the oversight unit, the NSA’s Office of the Inspector General, did not specify the journalist in question, the statement leaves no doubt that the investigation pertains to news reports that the identity of Fox News host Tucker Carlson had been improperly “unmasked” and illegally revealed within the intelligence community.
The full statement from the Inspector General reads:
The NSA’s Inspector General, Robert P. Storch, is a long-time Executive Branch functionary. He was first appointed to this position by President Obama in 2016 but failed to receive Senate confirmation. He was then re-appointed by President Trump in 2018 and the Senate then confirmed him. 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.
The scandal began when Carlson announced on his show in late June that he had heard from a source inside the government that the NSA was in possession of his communications, as proven by their knowledge of what he was doing. The NSA then issued a meaningless non-denial denial, insisting that the Fox host “has never been an intelligence target of the Agency.” Even Fox’s critics acknowledge the irrelevance of that claim: there are many ways for the NSA to spy on an American citizen without having them be a formal “target” of the agency. In a follow-up interview on Fox, Carlson said he was told by a second source that the NSA had discovered his attempts to interview Russian President Vladimir Putin and viewed leaking of that information as potentially damaging to his reputation.
Corporate media outlets largely sided with the NSA, mocking Carlson for being conspiratorial and even accusing him of fabricating a story. One might think that journalists would have more interest in finding out whether the NSA was abusing their powers to discredit a journalist than cheering the security state for partisan reasons, but one would be wrong. Disdain for Carlson’s claims were widespread in media circles.
But Carlson’s concerns appeared to be at least partially corroborated when Axios’ Jonathan Swan reported that “U.S. government officials learned about Carlson’s efforts to secure the Putin interview.” Though Swan emphasized that none of this meant that the NSA was targeting Carlson for surveillance or even that his communications had been “incidentally” collected — meaning that the NSA read his emails or heard his conversations because he was communicating with one of their targets — their knowledge of Carlson’s activities raised the question of whether Carlson’s identity had been “unmasked” by the agency. As Swan wrote:
In order to know that the texts and emails were Carlson’s, a U.S. government official would likely have to request his identity be unmasked, something that’s only permitted if the unmasking is necessary to understand the intelligence.
When the NSA learns about the communications or activities of an American citizen without having a warrant from the FISA court to spy on that person, they are required by law to engage in “minimization” efforts to protect the privacy of that citizen. In particular, when preparing reports involving such spying, they are required to conceal — to “mask” — the identity of the American about whom they learned information, referring to them only by a generic title sufficient to describe their work or status without revealing their specific identity (e.g., “an American journalist” or “a business executive”).
But in late July, the story appeared to take a sinister turn when a news outlet called The Record, run by a private security firm, revealed that two separate NSA sources admitted that Carlson’s identity had indeed been unmasked. Specifically, the site reported, while these sources insisted that Carlson had never been targeted for spying, and that his communications had not been incidentally intercepted, the NSA “found that Carlson was mentioned in communications between third parties and his name was subsequently revealed through ‘unmasking,’ a process in which relevant government officials can request the identities of American citizens in intelligence reports to be divulged provided there is an official reason.” The site did not specify which government officials requested the unmasking or what justification they cited.
It is extremely difficult to imagine any legitimate reason the NSA or any other intelligence agency would have for seeking to “unmask” the identity of a journalist who was merely seeking to interview the leader of a foreign country. There is, manifestly, nothing suspicious or even uncommon about seeking such an interview; indeed, doing so is fundamental to the work of any journalist.
So, what’s to investigate? The did it; that much it abundantly clear. They did it to silence free speech and exposure of government ineptitude and corruption. How many years and millions of dollars will it take to confirm what we already know?
Did the NSA spy on and unmask Chris Wallace when he planned to interview Putin? Did they spy on Hunter Biden when he, the Vice President’s son, was receiving millions of dollars from Ukraine, China and Russia? Nah… but they damn sure spied on Trump’s National Security Advisor when he spoke with the Russian Ambassador… his JOB.
The threat is that this is nothing but a ploy to “investigate” and find nothing wrong. That is a real, living threat since the left have totally weaponized, for political purposes, the DOJ, NSA, FBI, IRS, health care, Justice and the IC.
Tucker Carlson is a highly paid right-wing propaganda pimp. The fact that this isn’t a statutory crime doesn’t mean that he committed none.
Aside from your inaccurate crybaby reaction to someone that is allowed to communicate something other than left wing propaganda, he is a private citizen and has 4th Amendment rights. That the NSA would actually spy on him and leak his personal information with the intent of trying to silence him (as if a journalist wouldn’t be trying to get an interview with a foreign leader) is not just illegal and unconstitutional, but scary that this regime is THAT frightened of those whose rhetoric they cannot control.
Trump was quite right when he said “In reality, they’re not after me, they’re after you. I’m just in the way.”
“Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community — they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, 2019
Trump was draining the swamp and the swamp, and Covid-releasing China, didn’t like it.
Trump was the swampiest creatures ever to occupy the oval office. It’s all going to come out, now that he lacks the official powers to stop it.
Why? Because YOU say so? Because YOU, someone that has destroyed their credibility and dignity by parroting any and every phony rumor about Trump you were told to parrot? Look around you. Look at your god Cuomo. Look at that slobbering idiot Biden. Look at that lying punk Schiff. Look at that arrogant attention whore Obama.
When do you think it will “come out”? What is the delay? After all, as that bug-eyed lying worm Schiff has said, the evidence is all readily available and in mountainous quantities. What’s the hold up?
You don’t appear to have much of an ability to judge character. Of course, you would have to HAVE some to judge it.
Actually, things are moving right along. There was a four year delay after he was proclaimed immune from indictment while in office. That ended only 7 months ago.
The only delay was caused by there being nothing to impeach Trump for. Why do you think the despicable Democrats had to make up quid pro quo (patterned after the actual crime idiot Biden committed) and “inciting”? They have NOTHING. They’ve looked and looked and looked and looked and have NOTHING. Even using illegal spying, as they have done with Carlson, couldn’t find a crime. NOTHING.
Oh… they found a guy that forgot to declare all his perks on his taxes. Wow.
If Trump was actually guilty of any crime, you’d have that loaded up for as soon as he was vulnerable. “Only” 7 months? They’re STILL LOOKING because they are so afraid of someone that comes to Washington and works FOR THE PEOPLE. Stop trying to impress us with your stupidity.
Meanwhile, Lord Cuomo… ACTUAL scumbag.
Andrew Cuomo is resigning in response to loss of public confidence and support.
Trump attempted to foment insurrection to remain in power after being rejected by a margin of 7 million votes.
I THINK he resigned because he sexually assaulted at least 11 women, killed 15,000 elderly, obstructed justice and misused state assets. In other words, a typical Democrat that the machine wanted to get rid of.
biden sexuality assaulted Tara Reade among all of the underage children he has molested.
He RAPED her. Of course, #BelieveHer only applies when a Republican ias accused.
#BelieveHer only applies when a Republican is accused.
Cuomo’s resignation obviously demonstrates otherwise.
No, it actually proves my point. It took years to get to this point and even #MeToo was involved in trying to discredit the victims.
You wish. Trump challenged both parties, the deep state, and the rich oligarchs paying for them to operate.
He’s a hero to the American People and always will be.
Interesting. Guilty until proven innocent…because you don’t support the current regime?
Democrats invent crimes almost as much as the backwards Chinese Communist Party.
MASS PSYCHOSIS – How an Entire Population Becomes MENTALLY ILL
You obviously didn’t read the comment section on that video.
Everybody agrees that it’s the left and the Democrats that are operating under Mass psychosis.
Thanks for undermining your entire Marxist platform and proving ours.
Is that REALLY what you imagine the comments are saying?
No imagination necessary: just reading comprehension.
The Mass Hysteria we face today is Neo-Marxist extremism fostered by atheist ideologies and fueled by the Chinese Communist Party.
How do you take down the U.S.?
Pay them to do it themselves.
From Biden to John Cena to university professors to Eric Swalwell to CNN…money can buy a lot of minds.
America was bought, with trolls like you spreading mass hysteria to finish the job.
But really, go easy on posting videos that actually destroy your core tenants. It make you look like an idiot who speaks English as a Second Language, after Mandarin.
As an aside, I watch the Academy of Ideas channel regularly.
It’s a great way to inoculate
oneself against the rising tide of 20th Century Marxism and fascism being adopted by Left.
You should watch it too. You might learn something about all that hate you’re spreading.