President Joe Biden (D) and his administration faced intense backlash on Monday night after Fox News host Tucker Carlson accused the administration of spying on him.
“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 said during his show. “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.”
“The NSA captured that information without our knowledge and did it for political reasons,” Carlson said. “The Biden administration is spying on us. We have confirmed that. This morning we filed a FOIA request — Freedom of Information Act request — asking for all information that the NSA and other agencies have gathered about this show. We did it mostly as a formality. We’ve also contacted the press office of both NSA and the FBI.”
Biden said late last month that he would not allow the Department of Justice to seize records from reporters and, if the story is true, it’s not clear how the NSA would have obtained Carlson’s records without obtaining a warrant.
Editor Ian Miles Cheong responded to the news by writing on Twitter: “Biden lied, he promised he wouldn’t do this.”
Biden lied, he promised he wouldn’t do this. https://t.co/r5D9QYS8W1
— Ian Miles Cheong @ stillgray.substack.com (@stillgray) June 29, 2021
Other top responses to Carlson’s remarks included:
- Andrew Surabian, top Republican strategist: “No area of government tramples on our constitutional rights more than the intelligence community. … And it’s not even close. Reduce their power. Cut their funding. Rein them in.”
- Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA): “This is entirely believable given the systematic failures and massive abuses we’ve uncovered in the FISA process. We cannot allow the intelligence community to be routinely weaponized against political opponents. We need to investigate this immediately!”
- Drew Holden, journalist: “A Venn diagram of all the people who thought the FBI wouldn’t ever falsify documents to wiretap a Trump campaign employee and those currently telling us there’s zero chance the NSA is spying on Tucker would be a full circle.”
- James LaPorta, AP investigative reporter: “If this is true and that’s a big if at this point, it seems like the better route would be MDR over FOIA because of how narrow the situation is. I could be wrong but I think that’s the route I would take especially if just a formality.”
- Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO): “If true, this is a massive violation against our civil liberties. The NSA must respond to Congress immediately.”
- Max Abrams, professor and terrorism expert: “Is the NSA spying on Tucker? Based on your answer, you’ll either be seen as a conspiracy theorist or extraordinarily naïve.”