Tucker: I Was Working on a Secret Plan When the NSA Broke Into My Secure Text Messages


Remember back in 2021, when Fox News’ Tucker Carlson went on air and publicly alleged the National Security Agency was spying his text messages? The media painted him as a dangerous loon, someone who should be thrown off the air posthaste.

And then came reports that, uh, Tucker was potentially right. See, Carlson was trying to arrange an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin — and because the NSA was monitoring Putin, Carlson’s communications with Kremlin intermediaries may have been intercepted by an arm of the U.S. intelligence community that isn’t supposed to spy on its own citizens, Axios reported in July 2021.

On an episode of the “Full Send Podcast” published last week, Carlson went into greater detail about the alleged NSA surveillance, saying he “was immediately intimidated” and is “embarrassed to admit” it caused him to nix the potential interview.

“I’ve been all over the world — I feel like I’ve been everywhere except Russia, and Russia is a combatant in a war that’s changing the world,” Carlson said on the podcast, which is based in Newport Beach, California.

“I should go see it … and I was planning on it, and I got stopped by the U.S. government from doing it.”

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Carlson said that, as he was working on setting up the interview, “the NSA broke into my Signal account, which I didn’t know they could do.”

Signal, for the unaware, is a privacy-heavy messaging app often favored by journalists because of its strong encryption and the supposed difficulty that Big Brother-esque intelligence services would have breaking into it.

“I don’t have a secret life,” Carlson said. “I’m not hiding anything — but I was definitely hiding my plan to go interview Putin just because it’s an interview.”

As for how he found out about the surveillance: “I got a call from somebody in Washington who would know — just trust me — so I went up there for another reason, but this person said, you know, you’re going to come to Washington anytime soon?”

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Carlson said he arranged to meet up with the individual when he traveled to the capital, where he was asked if he was planning a trip to see Putin.

“And I was like, ‘how would you know that?'” Carlson said. “I hadn’t told anybody — I mean, anybody. Not my brother, not my wife, nobody. Because, you know, it’s one of a million things you’re working on, but that was one of them.”

He said he asked the source how he knew: “‘Because NSA pulled your text with this other person you were texting’ … And so immediately, I was intimidated.

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“I’m embarrassed to admit, but I was completely freaked out by it,” Carlson said.

He went on to relate that he talked to a senator on Capitol Hill. (Carlson didn’t name the senator, but it’s worth noting GOP Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul wrote a letter to the head of the NSA, asking for an investigation into the matter and noting that Carlson “is to be afforded the freedom of the press protections guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution”).

“I went on TV on Monday, and I’m like, ‘this happened’,” Carlson said on the podcast.

“And so they had, you know, in Congress, [they] asked NSA, and NSA is like, ‘yes, we did this, but for good reason.'”

This had more or less been confirmed by a report from cybersecurity publication The Record, which reported in July of 2021 that “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.”

Furthermore, the NSA went as far as to respond to Carlson’s allegations in a statement that was critical of the host and called his allegations “untrue” — while never actually denying the NSA intercepted his communications, not exactly a good sign if you want to believe the NSA isn’t spying on American citizens.

The liberal media reaction to Carlson’s interview has been much the same as it was in 2021: Pfft, this didn’t happen — and if it did, it’s a good thing!

“If any of this is true — a highly specious assumption — it is no wonder that he’s embarrassed. The whole story is profoundly stupid,” wrote a blogger published by the anything-goes moderation-light lefty outlet Daily Kos. “Furthermore, why would Carlson be so astonished that the NSA was monitoring the communications of a Putin associate in Russia? That’s their job. It would be worrisome if they didn’t know about Carlson’s prospective interview.”

Daily Kos, some readers might recall, was one of the most prominent digital outlets lobbing criticism at George W. Bush’s administration for what its writers perceived as breaches of civil liberties in the war on terror. This, of course, was in the wake of an attack that killed nearly 3,000 Americans — but Bush was taking away our freedoms!

Now — Tucker Carlson wanted to interview Vladimir Putin and he had his text messages spied upon? As far as some leftists are concerned, it serves him right.

Whoever authorized this ought to be thoroughly investigated and, if the message-snooping and unmasking were unwarranted, fired.

Journalists, like other Americans, have a certain expectation of constitutional rights, even when it comes to individuals the left doesn’t like. If Carlson isn’t safe, none of us are.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture