Sen. Rand Paul recently announced that he is seeking an investigation into the allegations that Fox News host Tucker Carlson is being spied on by the National Security Agency. He defended the journalist saying that he should be protected by the First Amendment and called on Gen. Paul Nakasone, of the NSA, over the spying allegations.
Paul writes that he is “open-minded” to the idea that the NSA is telling the truth but cites a long train of abuses for a reason in the investigation. He said that the NSA needs to do a lot more than post a carefully worded denial tweet. He also asked if the NSA plans on investigating whether or not the claims are true. He said he feels that any leaks of his private emails from the NSA to other reporters should be probed.
“Mr. Carlson is a journalist, who currently hosts the popular news program Tucker Carlson Tonight, and as such he is to be afforded the freedom of the press protections guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,” Paul wrote.
Host Tucker Carlson made allegations on his show that the NSA read emails regarding an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin and leaked them to others in the press. He said that the federal agency was monitoring their electronic communications in a plan to leak them and try to take the show off the air. The NSA, however, pushed back on the claims and said that Carlson has never been an intelligence target of the Agency and that they “never had plans to try to take his program off the air.”
But Paul has pushed on specific answers from the agency, such as whether Carlson has ever been an HSA target or if NSA “incidentally collected his electronic communications” relating to the interview request. He asked if the agency feels that it complies with federal law and if the agency did unmask Carlson with “minimization procedures.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also asked the NSA about their allegations and said he’s seen a “disturbing trend” for the past few months at the agency. He said he was also concerned about the “politicization” of the Agency through the sidelining of Michael Ellis as NSA General Counsel. The NSA has refused to deliver the information requested by the House Intelligence GOP Committee members and said there are serious questions to be answered.
McCarthy asked HPSCI Ranking Member Devin Nunes to investigate and find answers on behalf of the American people without letting the NSA be used as a political instrument.
While Carlson filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all of the information gathered on him, he said they don’t expect to hear much back from the agency. “Only Congress can force transparency on the intelligence agencies and they should do that immediately,” he said.
Spying on journalists with opposing views is the next level of invading our privacy. First, it was Big Tech Censorship and suppressing headlines in the media. Now, it’s about grabbing the stories before they are even printed. It is incompatible with democracy, the First Amendment, and using power to influence the politics they want (and crush the ones they don’t).