Fox News host Tucker Carlson claims the U.S. government is spying on him in an effort to take his TV show off the air.
The “Tucker Carlson Tonight” star said on Monday’s broadcast that a National Security Agency “whistleblower” allegedly informed him that the NSA is monitoring his digital communications for “political reasons.”
“Yesterday, we heard from a whistleblower within the U.S. government who reached out to warn us that the NSA, the National Security Agency, is monitoring our electronic communications and is planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off the air,” Carlson claimed. “Now, that’s a shocking claim, and ordinarily we would be skeptical; it is illegal for the NSA to spy on American citizens. It’s a crime. It’s not a third world country. Things like that should not happen in America.”
Carlson did not name the anonymous source, but said he had proof their allegations were accurate.
“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,” he continued. “There’s no other possible source for that information. Period. They did it for political reasons. The Biden administration is spying on us. We have confirmed that.”
According to The Wrap, Carlson said he and the cable news network reached out to the NSA and FBI’s press offices and filed a Freedom of Information Request ( FOIA), but neither organization has replied. He also called on Congress to “force transparency on the intelligence agencies” immediately.
“Spying on opposition journalists is incompatible with democracy,” Carlson said. “They are doing it to us and again, they are definitely doing it to us, they are almost certainly doing it to others. This is scary and we need to stop it right away.”
The Daily Beast notes Carlson has recently pushed conspiracy theories without evidence, such as claiming the FBI was to blame for the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. NPR reported in September that Fox News’ own lawyers successfully argued against a slander accusation by Karen McDougal because “Tucker Carlson Tonight” is “a commentary show” and viewers cannot literally believe everything he says.
The “’general tenor’ of the show should then inform a viewer that [Carlson] is not ‘stating actual facts’ about the topics he discusses and is instead engaging in ‘exaggeration’ and ‘non-literal commentary,” U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil wrote in her opinion. “Fox persuasively argues, that given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism’ about the statement he makes.”
Vyskocil, a federal judge appointed by then-President Donald Trump in the Southern District of New York, said Carlson’s statements are “not actionable” and dismissed McDougal’s lawsuit.
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