NSA reportedly admits to 'unmasking' Tucker Carlson in intercepted communications
Ever since Tucker Carlson first claimed on his June 28, 2021, broadcast that the NSA has been spying on him, he has been subjected to ridicule from his lower-rated cable news competitors on other agitprop media outlets, and a misleading non-denial denial from the NSA, stating that he was not a "target" — which Carlson never claimed and which leaves plenty of room for spying on him as a non-target.
A statement from NSA regarding recent allegations: pic.twitter.com/vduE6l6YWg— NSA/CSS (@NSAGov) June 30, 2021
Now, through an anonymous leak to a publication called The Record, we are being told:
[T]he nation's top electronic spy agency 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, such as helping them make sense of the intelligence documents they are reviewing.
Note that we are not being told why the unusual and grave step of unmasking an American citizen was undertaken. No claim is being made that the reason for unmasking Tucker was "helping them make sense of the intelligence documents they are reviewing." That is offered only as an example of why this serious step of spying on an American citizen without a warrant could be taken. The spin taken by The Record is clearly protective of the NSA (its headline reads: "NSA review finds that Tucker Carlson's communications were not targeted").
This leak, allegedly from two individuals, seems like a perfect example of what the intelligence professionals call a "limited hangout." According to former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency Victor Marchetti, that term is
spy jargon for a favorite and frequently used gimmick of the clandestine professionals. When their veil of secrecy is shredded and they can no longer rely on a phony cover story to misinform the public, they resort to admitting — sometimes even volunteering — some of the truth while still managing to withhold the key and damaging facts in the case. The public, however, is usually so intrigued by the new information that it never thinks to pursue the matter further.
Fox News was not impressed:
Fox News responded to the report by saying in a statement: "For the NSA to unmask Tucker Carlson or any journalist attempting to secure a newsworthy interview is entirely unacceptable and raises serious questions about their activities, as well as their original denial, which was wildly misleading."
Carlson did not appear on the Friday edition of his eponymous show, but he did tweet out a video of the response offered by guest host Mark Steyn interviewing GOP super-lawyer Harmeet Dhillon:
The NSA now admits that it "unmasked" Tucker's identity after an intelligence intercept. Plus: the tyrants at Facebook confirm that they have been censoring this show. pic.twitter.com/AeYbQzNWLI— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) July 24, 2021
Here is a partial transcript via The Daily Wire:
MARK STEYN, FOX NEWS HOST: We told you that the National Security Agency has been monitoring this show and the content of Tucker's emails. According to a media outlet called The Record, the NSA has just completed its internal review of the matter. The NSA now admits that it unmasked Tucker's identity after an intelligence intercept. By law, the identities of American citizens are concealed when they're caught up during foreign intelligence gathering. They can only be unmasked in extraordinary circumstances. Fox News has just released this statement: "For the NSA to unmask Tucker Carlson or any journalist attempting to secure a newsworthy interview is entirely unacceptable and raises serious questions about their activities, as well as their original denial, which was wildly misleading." We're always glad to see Harmeet Dhillon, when it comes to issues like this. Harmeet, what do you make of the NSA's revision of its story?
HARMEET DHILLON, ATTORNEY: I'm not buying it. I think that what they're saying now is inconsistent with what they've said before. And it's also inconsistent with the facts as Tucker has revealed them. For example, Tucker said on his show on several nights that a source within the government came to him and read out several of Tucker's texts and messages. And so, what the government is allegedly saying today is that the unmasking occurred regarding third parties talking with one another about Tucker Carlson. Okay, so that's inconsistent with them intercepting Tucker Carlson. Number two, there's only a handful of people in the United States government who have the ability and the right to unmask people. And that right was widely abused during the end of the Obama administration [in] 2016. And I am afraid it's being abused right now. And so, this raises more questions than it answers. And I think that we really need to be looking at reining in the abuses in the national security community of these types of issues, and no American journalist should be surveilled this way. And finally, these types of communications must never be leaked to the media. Axios had these communications. So, they haven't answered that. How did that happen?
Senator Rand Paul is unimpressed, too:
Yes - Joe Biden personally unmasked General Flynn and now someone? in Biden administration unmasked Tucker Carlson.— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 24, 2021
It should be illegal to spy on Americans without a warrant. https://t.co/ZrNn31daU1
I don't think this scandal is anywhere near over.
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