That Strange NSA Non-Denial

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Tucker v. the Surveillance State

On June 28, 2021, Tucker Carlson alleged that the National Security Agency has been "monitoring our electronic communications and is planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off the air."  This allegation is untrue. Tucker Carlson has never been an intelligence target of the Agency and the NSA has never had any plans to try to take his program off the air.  NSA has a foreign intelligence mission. We target foreign powers to generate insights on foreign activities that could harm the United States.  With limited exceptions (e.g. an emergency), NSA may not target a US citizen without a court order that explicitly authorizes the targeting.

Yesterday, Tucker announced that the National Security Agency had been collecting his communications in order to take him off the air. He has now provided a brief update:

Tonight, the NSA responded to Tucker Carlson’s allegations. In particular, the NSA wrote:

Tucker Carlson alleged that the National Security Agency has been “monitoring our electronic communications and is planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off the air.” This allegation is untrue.

This is a carefully drafted denial by the NSA (likely coordinated by NSA leadership), as there are three separate “allegations” within Tucker’s quote. To this we ask a key question: which “allegation” is untrue?

  • Is it that the NSA has been “monitoring [Tucker’s] electronic communications”?
  • Is it that the NSA “is planning to leak” Tucker’s communications?
  • Or is it that the NSA will try to take Tucker’s show “off the air”

Here the NSA is using vague language is used to mislead the public. The press will run this as a wholesale denial, and many in America will agree.

Those who look closely will see something else: that the NSA, while stating that Tucker “has never been an intelligence target,” does not categorically deny having his electronic communications.

Something is up.

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