Who Unmasked Tucker Carlson?
Who Unmasked Tucker Carlson?
On June 28, Fox News host Tucker Carlson told his audience that the National Security Agency had been spying on him through his emails. A whistleblower, he claimed, tipped him off.
“The whistleblower, who is in a position to know, repeated back to us information about a story that we are working on that could have only come directly from my texts and emails. There’s no other possible source for that information, period.”
Liberals and anti-Trump “conservatives” (I use scare quotes there), sneered at Carlson’s claims. Like Jonah Goldberg, who tweeted:
“Spoiler alert: the NSA isn’t spying on Tucker.”
And Rick Wilson, of that pack of grifters known as the Lincoln Project, tweeted this:
“Tucker’s fauxrage over the idea the NSA is monitoring his show to take him off the air is one stop short of his dog telling him to murder people.”
Well, those tweets didn’t age well. In fact, they’ve come back to bite them in the ass. On Wednesday, Jonathan Swan at Axios published a “scoop” which acknowledged that yes, the NSA did spy on Tucker Carlson. But Carlson had been arranging an interview with Vladimir Putin at the same time. So there.
Sources told Axios that US government officials became aware of Carlson’s outreach to Putin, but the NSA still denied targeting him.
A statement from NSA regarding recent allegations: pic.twitter.com/vduE6l6YWg
— NSA/CSS (@NSAGov) June 30, 2021
On Wednesday morning, Tucker Carlson appeared with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business News to leak out a few more details of what was coming.
“Yesterday, I learned that — and this is going to come out soon — that the NSA leaked the contents of my emails to journalists in an effort to discredit me. I know because I got a call from one of them saying ‘oh, this is what your email was about. So, it is not in any way a figment of my imagination. It’s confirmed, it’s true.”
“It’s happening to me right now, and I think it’s shocking and I don’t think we should put up with it in a free country.”
No one else, Carlson told Bartiromo, had seen the emails in question except for his executive producer. But on Tuesday evening, right before his show aired, Carlson had received a call from a reporter. This reporter read one of his emails back to him.
“There is no possibility that anyone else could have known. And then again yesterday I get a call right before air, like 7:15, from a journalist I know and like, not many left, but I do like this person. He repeated back to me what’s in my email, he got it because the NSA leaked it, so, yes, entirely real.”
Then, late on Wednesday afternoon, Axios broke the story. Carlson led off his evening program with new allegations.
Did the NSA spy on Tucker Carlson because he was trying to get an interview with Putin? Not likely. After all, as Axios pointed out, journalists reach out to world leaders all the time. In fact, Chris Wallace of Fox News interviewed Putin in 2018. The network received its first Emmy for that interview.
So why did the NSA collect Carlson’s communications? Axios offered these scenarios:
However, the point remains: in any of these possible scenarios, Carlson’s identity would have been masked. Only a government official could request to unmask his name, and only if such an action was needed to understand the intelligence.
Then how did the unmasking occur?
Richard Grenell, former acting Director of National Intelligence, has thoughts. He tweeted:
“Democrats are weaponizing intel, like they weaponized the IRS and DOJ. @AdamSchiff has unleashed politics throughout Intel agencies.”
Grenell added that Avril Haines, current Director of the DNI, would know who unmasked Carlson:
“Who requested to unmask his name? It’s an easy answer for Avril Haines….there’s always a list of requesters kept. Always.”
Grenell, of course, knows how these things work. But don’t hold your breath on Haines releasing the name of the unmasker.
Libertarian journalist Glenn Greenwald appeared on Carlson’s program on Wednesday and explained a truly frightening scenario: that if you anger the intelligence community, the IC has ways to make you pay. After all, he said, Donald Trump pissed off that community just before he took office. The IC made life miserable for Trump after that.
On his Twitter page, Greenwald posted a 2017 exchange between Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rachel Maddow in which Schumer predicted hard times ahead for Trump with intelligence agencies. And, in his interview with Carlson, Greenwald described how these agencies carry on “with no Democratic accountability.”
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 8, 2021
I’m old enough to remember when Richard Nixon, as President, kept an enemies list. At the time, Democrats were outraged. But now that they’re in power, and conservatives like Tucker Carlson keep yapping at their heels, it looks like they’ve concocted their own enemies list. And they won’t hesitate to unleash the dogs on those who threaten their regime. Carlson is one, and there may be more.