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NSA Confirms Unmasking Tucker Carlson, Gives Inconsistent Denial on Spying Allegations

NSA Confirms Unmasking Tucker Carlson, Gives Inconsistent Denial on Spying Allegations

Fox News: “For the NSA to unmask Tucker Carlson or any journalist attempting to secure a newsworthy interview is entirely unacceptable”

A month ago, Fox News host Tucker Carlson reported that a whistleblower who was “in a position to know” had reached out to him to alert him that the National Security Agency (NSA) was “monitoring our electronic communications and is planning to leak them in an attempt to take the show off the air.”

In response to Carlson’s report, the NSA issued a vague denial the following day which the discerning reader will note didn’t actually deny the spying claim:

Certain aspects of Carlson’s story were later confirmed by other news outlets like Axios, which backed up his claim that the NSA had unmasked him:

Tucker Carlson was talking to U.S.-based Kremlin intermediaries about setting up an interview with Vladimir Putin shortly before the Fox News host accused the National Security Agency of spying on him, sources familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Those sources said U.S. government officials learned about Carlson’s efforts to secure the Putin interview. Carlson learned that the government was aware of his outreach — and that’s the basis of his extraordinary accusation, followed by a rare public denial by the NSA that he had been targeted.

In an update to this story published Friday, “two people familiar with the matter” told The Record that an NSA investigation into Carlson’s claims “found no evidence to support” the spying allegation but did confirm he was unmasked:

An examination by the spy agency, prompted by congressional inquiries, found that the Fox News host’s communications were not targeted — as the NSA has previously stated publicly — nor intercepted through so-called “incidental collection,” where the U.S. government sometimes obtains the emails or phone calls of Americans in contact with a foreign target under surveillance, according to these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Correspondence between intelligence agencies and oversight authorities are conducted through classified means.

Instead, the 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.

Something smells here. Remember, Carlson stated when he first reported on the story that the whistleblower – who he said works “within the U.S. government” – “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.” That doesn’t just sound like unmasking. That sounds like spying.

Mark Steyn filled in for Carlson on Friday’s show and both he and civil rights attorney Harmeet Dhillon agreed that there were inconsistencies in the NSA’s spying denial based both on their earlier statement and on Carlson pointing out a month ago that there was no way the NSA would have had the specific information they had on him without his texts and emails:

Dhillon: “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 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?”

Watch:

In response to The Record’s story, Fox News issued 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.”

No doubt Tucker Carlson will have a lot more to say on this story when he returns to his hosting duties. Stay tuned.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —

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Comments

I hope he had the opportunity to bait them.

It’s far past time to be civil….these insane Communists would kill you without batting an eye.

2smartforlibs | July 25, 2021 at 4:45 pm

Liberal Playbook: We are liberal we don’t need to explain our actions to the like of you.

Sometimes Tucker pisses me off.. but I have to believe that he has the $$$ to make some noise. Not that anything will happen.. but just a squeak would be fun..

Large problem: many Citizens, when hearing of this really don’t care. ‘They all do it’ attitude pervades.

    MORE than half the nation is completely ignorant of the story of what happened to Carlson. And if they did hear about, a good many of them honestly don’t understand it. And a good many of them are all for it.

This “unmasking” included reading his emails and likely tapping his phone. It likely had something to do with the missing Hunter Biden package.
The practice is dangerous and should violate the First and Fourth Amendments and multiple State laws. Listening in on anyone who discusses a foreign firm or individual allows the FBI to search anyone that individual has talked with. Ultimately, every single person in the country can be searched or monitored. Hence Rice could unmask over 100 people in a year, Samantha Powers 300.

    Milhouse in reply to puhiawa. | July 25, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    This “unmasking” included reading his emails and likely tapping his phone.

    No, it did not. That’s not what unmasking is. Unmasking is simply finding out the identity of a US person mentioned in a legitimate foreign intercept. And there are rules for when this can be done, which seem to have been violated, just as they were in the 0bama years.

      Barry in reply to Milhouse. | July 26, 2021 at 10:34 am

      “No, it did not.”

      You know this how exactly?

      Don’t bother with an answer. Of course you don’t know.

        Milhouse in reply to Barry. | July 26, 2021 at 3:40 pm

        You idiot. I know it the same way I know that it didn’t include walruses, or cotton candy. I know it because unmasking never includes reading anyone’s emails or tapping anyone’s phone. By definition, it can’t include those things. To unmask someone you have to already be reading captured material, which has been appropriately redacted.

          Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Milhouse. | July 27, 2021 at 12:21 am

          “I know it because unmasking never includes reading anyone’s emails or tapping anyone’s phone.”

          Sorry Milhouse, this is completely untrue. In fact, they must have those communications in order to “unmask” a participant in those communications. And yes, participants in phone conversations that are being “tapped” who are not a subject of a criminal investigation and who are not engaged in illegal activity can also be “unmasked.” Hunter Biden, under criminal investigation for multitudinous crimes (in a fantasy world) calls a pizza joint and orders a pizza. The identity of the pizza order taker cannot be unmasked, legally. Unmasking is simply the removal of the redaction of a person’s identity in some form of intercepted communication, whether it be written, verbal, electronic, or otherwise..

          Barry in reply to Milhouse. | July 27, 2021 at 2:19 am

          Proving once again that you are a moron.
          Also, you are a complete fool to believe that nay of these people are following any law or regulation. What the hell is wrong with you that you have yet to figure this out?

          Of course you don’t know. The truth is, it is precisely the opposite of what you state. They absolutely read his emails and tapped his phone. I know this is true 100%. They do it to all their enemies.

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | July 27, 2021 at 3:05 am

          Sorry, BSR, it is completely true, as you yourself go on to acknowledge!

          In fact, they must have those communications in order to “unmask” a participant in those communications.

          That’s exactly what I wrote, which you just claimed to be untrue! Make up your ****ing mind!

          Unmasking, by definition, does not involve reading people’s emails or tapping their phones, As I wrote, to unmask someone you have to already be reading captured material. Without it you can’t unmask them, because you have nothing to unmask.

          Of course “people who are not a subject of a criminal investigation and who are not engaged in illegal activity can also be unmasked.” Whoever suggested they couldn’t be? But that unmasking doesn’t involve reading their email or tapping their phone. It doesn’t even involve reading someone else’s email or tapping someone else’s phone; it only becomes possible after that has already been done.

          The identity of the pizza order taker cannot be unmasked, legally.

          Not quite. It can be, but only if there’s a damn good reason why the intel can’t be understood without it. And it’s very difficult to come up with such a reason.

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | July 27, 2021 at 3:14 am

          Barry, not only are you the moron here, you’re also illiterate.

          And no, there is not a shred of evidence, nor any reason to believe, that they tapped his phone, or monitored his email account. All we know is that they read some of his email and text messages; that is no evidence at all, not even an indication, that they spied on him. Not even he alleged that, so how could you possibly know that they did?

          The evidence we have is completely consistent with them having come across those messages because they were spying on the recipient; or, as they claim, they were spying on a third party, and only came across his messages because the recipient forwarded them. None of this is at all suspicious or illegitimate, and Carlson didn’t say it was.

          The problem is simply that (1) they knew his name without any obvious reason why they needed to, and (2) they leaked the material to people who had no business seeing it.

          Barry in reply to Milhouse. | July 27, 2021 at 9:53 am

          “Proving once again that you are a moron.”

          Over and over you tell us the government is behaving and acting in a legal manner.

          You have to be a government agent spreading propaganda or a complete fool to not see the truth.

          Start with RussiaGate and explain the legality of that…

      ertdfg in reply to Milhouse. | July 26, 2021 at 10:55 am

      So they simply found out his identity; and that’s all they did?
      Okay.
      What part of Tuckers name gives them the specific lines of his texts and e-mails that they had?
      Is there some program to decode my name to give all the data from my recent texts and e-mails?
      That would be amazing if it were true… But I suspect that’s not all that happened.

        Milhouse in reply to ertdfg. | July 26, 2021 at 3:36 pm

        No, that’s not all they did; they also told people about it, which is a separate offense. But you seem to have no idea how this works.

        They certainly had the texts and emails; but there is no reason to believe there was anything illegitimate about that. He was talking to people in the Russian government; the government has every right to spy on them, and anyone talking to them should expect and hope that the government is listening. If it isn’t, it isn’t doing its job. Not even Carlson himself alleged that they were targeting him, and there’s no reason to suppose they were.

        But his name was supposed to be masked. The government agents reading the emails and texts, apart from whichever low-level agent first looked at them, should have only seen “US Person No. 1” or whatever. They should not have had any idea who that person was, just that it was a US citizen or resident. From the context they could easily know that the person was a journalist, from which they could rationally (but in this case incorrectly) conclude that s/he was probably a leftist.

        Finding out that it was Carlson required putting in an unmasking request, which few people are authorized to do, and which requires a good reason. If they had one, then fine, they did nothing wrong. But what possible reason could there be?

        And even if they had a good reason, and therefore finding out his name was legitimate, talking about it was definitely wrong, because nobody else had any need to know about it.

Something smells here. Remember, Carlson stated when he first reported on the story that the whistleblower – who he said works “within the U.S. government” – “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.” That doesn’t just sound like unmasking. That sounds like spying.

No, that sounds exactly like unmasking. Carlson never claimed he was targeted, merely that the government knew the content of his email and texts. They could easily have got those if they were targeting the person he sent them to. But without unmasking him they would only have known that their target had received these messages from a US person; they would not have known who it was. Or they might not have been targeting that person but a third party, and Carlson’s correspondent might have forwarded his messages to that person, whereupon the NSA scooped them up. Again, though, without unmasking him they would not have known his name.

The inevitable conclusion, then, even putting the best light on it, is that they did unmask him. And the problem is, what possible legitimate reason could they have had to want to know who this person was who wanted to interview Putin? What difference could that make to the national security?

At that point they would not have known that it was a right-wing person; it might just as easily have been a left-wing one. More likely, since most journalists are lefties. Therefore, someone in the government, with unmasking authority, deliberately chose to find out who wanted to interview Putin, which was almost certainly an abuse of power. Unless someone can suggest a legitimate reason for it.

Then, when they learned it was Carlson, they spoke about it to other people in the government, so that eventually it got to someone who informed Carlson about it. That’s another breach of the law, since even if there had been a legitimate reason for the unmasking there was certainly none for spreading word about it.

In response to The Record’s story, Fox News issued 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.”

This is wrong-headed. It makes no difference whether he’s a journalist or a plumber. If there’s a legitimate reason why they need to know who wants to interview Putin, then his being a journalist doesn’t make it less legitimate. Journalists are not special. But it’s difficult to think of a legitimate reason for finding this out no matter who it was. If the person had identified themselves as a garbage collector and asked for a conversation with Putin their identity would still have been none of the government’s business.

    A person identifying themselves as a garbage collector and asking for a conversation with Putin..

    — That sounds like something Biden would do after waking up in the middle of the night.

      Sure, why shouldn’t a garbage collector ask to speak to Putin, if he feels like it? Not much chance he’ll get a yes, but what’s wrong with it? The point is that it doesn’t matter who the US person who wanted to speak to Putin was. It happened to be a journalist, but the law is the same no matter who it was. The only way it’s legal for the government to find out the person’s name is if there’s some good reason why they need to know. And I can’t think of any such reason, nor have I seen any defender of the Biden administration suggest such a reason. Therefore finding out was an offense, and telling people was a second offense.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Milhouse. | July 27, 2021 at 12:32 am

    I think the issue is the NSA is now saying, after previously being too cute with its original answer, that they picked up the request by Carlson to interview Putin via listening to a second to 3rd party conversation, that is, Carlson asks person “A”. Person “A” then asks or talks about it to person “B”. Therefore the intercepted communications were between persons “A” and “B” and not between Carlson any anyone else. If this is an accurate appraisal, it’s possible, not does not smell right. It looks to me the NSA is still trying to cover direct collections (incidental or otherwise, of Carlson’s communications. This goes to whether Carlson was actually being directly collected against, straightforwardly, or in a Carter Page way where someone got a warrant of some one in the conservative realm, and then listens three jumps away and hovers up all kinds of information about conservatives.

    Speculation – yes. Informed speculation? Yes, as per the behavior of the intelligence community during the Trump years. and prior. By basically lying to us in the first instance over this affair, the NSA must be held highly suspect in that they are copping a plea to a lessor offense to make the higher offenses go away.

The only thing thats been confirmed is that Tucker Carlson wanted to do a Putin interview and that the NSA might have known about that. That seems pretty uncontroversial since it would be in the NSA’s remit to target high value Russians. “communications between third parties and his name”

Still nothing regarding any of the other aspects of the claims made by Tucker Carlson.

    CommoChief in reply to mark311. | July 26, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    What we may have found is that TC was unmasked when his name was mentioned in a separate communication by third parties.

    We don’t yet know who requested the unmasking or the justification provided. Nor do we know the identity of who leaked this to media.

    So far the NSA and IC has not specifically addressed the issue TC made; that the NSA had read his communication and that his communication was shared with a whistleblower who quoted the content of one or more communications to TC.

      Milhouse in reply to CommoChief. | July 26, 2021 at 3:47 pm

      It doesn’t matter whether he was mentioned in 3rd party communications, or directly in communications between the first and second parties, i.e. him and his correspondent/s. Either way, his name would not have been included in the intel, which means the only way anyone in the government could have known it would have been by improperly unmasking him.

      mark311 in reply to CommoChief. | July 26, 2021 at 3:57 pm

      Yes they did they said it was untrue. The part which has kind of been confirmed is that his name may have been unmasked in relation to third party communications with Putin. Given his original claim was that the NSA were trying to cancel him the whole thing seems dubious. That’s especially in light of knowing his FOIO request was issued in Jan 2019.

        CommoChief in reply to mark311. | July 26, 2021 at 9:55 pm

        Mark,

        I didn’t figure you for a Journey fan.

        ‘Don’t stop Believing’ in your fantasy that the IC wear a white hat. I suppose your are just fine with the IC collecting and monitoring communication data ‘Any way you want it’.

        Brave Sir Robbin in reply to mark311. | July 27, 2021 at 12:34 am

        Mark stands up for tyranny. Even when it is confirmed, by the NSA, that Carlson was improperly unmasked, Mark defends them.

        Milhouse in reply to mark311. | July 27, 2021 at 3:24 am

        No, they did not say it was untrue. In fact it’s pretty clearly true. All they said was that they had not targeted him, which is probably true, but irrelevant, since he never claimed they had.

        The plain fact is that, having come across his email and text messages, whether legitimately or illegitimately we don’t know, they unmasked his identity. They had no right to do so. Not without a good reason, and I defy you to come up with one. Then, having done so, they plotted to leak those messages, complete with his name, in order to damage him. That’s what the whistleblower told him, and there is no reason to doubt his or her word, since he had the messages and read them to Carlson.

        That’s especially in light of knowing his FOIO request was issued in Jan 2019.

        What is that supposed to mean? First of all, what are you talking about? Second, even if it were true how would that make his story less likely to be true?

    Milhouse in reply to mark311. | July 26, 2021 at 3:44 pm

    No, Mark, what’s been confirmed is that people in the government did know that. And that is itself a scandal, because no, it is not in the NSA’s remit to know the name of any US person mentioned in captured communications. A whistleblower called Carlson and read his messages to him; how did that person know that these messages were his?

    What other aspect do you think is uncomfirmed?

      Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Milhouse. | July 27, 2021 at 12:36 am

      He specifically mentions the Carlson accusation that NSA was doing this to try and run him off the air. But why would the NSA unmask these communications and release them surreptitiously if they did not hold malevolent motive?

This has all the smells of Susan Rice

The original NSA statement and the response, as presented in The Record, about this episode is lacking.
1. TC claims his text/email were quoted to him by a whistleblower.
2. Axis had his name and the story.

The NSA claims as presented in The Record, about unmasking doesn’t address that. Instead it claims his name was mentioned in communication between other third parties, who were presumably legitimate targets, though that was not specifically addressed.

What we know is the NSA is apparently conceding to an unmasking of TC within the communication of third parties. The NSA has not provided a justification or named the person(s) who made the unmasking request.

What we don’t know;
1. Did the NSA monitor and collect his data incidentally? If not incidentally it was intentional which is not legal.
2. Was this the only instance of TC data being monitored and collected?
3. Is this the only instance where an unmasking request was made or the only instance where the request was granted?
4. If multiple times did the same person request or multiple people?
5. Is this process confined to certain news organizations?
6. Is it a widespread policy deployed to gain intelligence and provided to assist in crafting press responses and shape WH communication strategy?

In a vacuum lots of theories will occupy the slate until proven otherwise. Great job IC, NSA and WH, your stubborn refusal to be transparent has given licence to every conspiracy theorist to fill in the blanks. Do better.

A fly fishing guide just confronted @TuckerCarlson
to his face, telling him, “You are the worst human being known to mankind. I want you to know that!” Let’s make this go VIRAL!
https://twitter.com/OccupyDemocrats/status/1419025362017669122

Jack Posobiec
@JackPosobiec
Just In: The White House knew about the Tucker ‘confrontation’ and the entire set-up was planned out in advance, per WH official
https://mobile.twitter.com/JackPosobiec/status/1419468596703604736

We already know they have spied on AmCits. So why is this coming as such a surprise to the Milhouses of the world? Criminy.

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