House Republicans to investigate nation's top spy team

U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., listens to President Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 (RNC video screenshot)

Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives will be investigating the nation’s top spy team, the National Security Agency, which has been accused of “politicization” after Fox News host Tucker Carlson credibly charged the Biden-directed government operation has been spying on his personal emails.

The Washington Examiner reported Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, told GOP members of the Intelligence Committee to review the NSA.

He said the Carlson case was just the latest issue to raise concerns, and others date back to Biden’s decision to remove Michael Ellis, a top NSA lawyer appointed by President Trump.

“Earlier this year, I sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Austin expressing concern over the politicization of the agency through the sidelining of Michael Ellis as NSA general counsel,” the GOP leader said in a statement. “I asked that Mr. Ellis be reinstated and expressed my concern regarding undue political influence in NSA placing Mr. Ellis on administrative leave.”

He said the NSA cannot be used as a “political instrument.”

He explained in other situations, the agency “refused” to deliver information requested by the Republican members of the Intel committee.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., also has called for a review by an independent inspector general of Carlson’s charges.

Carlson, this week, said he’d been contacted by a whistleblower who revealed the NSA was spying on his communications in a plan to selectively release information to try to get the show removed.

Then Carlson doubled down, warning that Biden’s operatives could come “after you.”

Carlson, host of the most-watched cable news show in the United States, confirmed Monday to his audience that Biden’s NSA spied on him electronically.

That, he explained, is a crime under federal law.

He said Tuesday he tried to get answers to questions about the operations from federal officials, and was given non-sequiturs, in which they refused to respond to his direct questions.

He warned that such spying on private individuals, “In Washington this is just considered fine. But it is not fine. It is dangerous. And it’s wrong. Some faceless hack in a powerful government spy agency decides he doesn’t like what you think and he’s going to hurt you, and there’s nothing you can do about it. That could happen to you.”

Carlson explained, “We made a very straightforward claim: NSA has read my private emails without my permission. Tonight’s statement from the NSA does not deny that. Instead, it comes with this non-sequitur: ‘Tucker Carlson has never been an intel target.'”

In fact, the government agency claimed: “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 U.S. citizen without a court order that explicitly authorizes the targeting.”

Carlson explained he called the chief of the NSA, Paul Nakasone, and his staff claimed he wasn’t there.

Carlson pointed out that the government never denied his spying statement was accurate.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, asked about the issue, wouldn’t answer directly: “Uh, well, the NSA, as I think you’re well aware, I’m sure everyone’s aware, uh, everyone on this plane is aware, I should say, is uh, an entity that focuses on foreign threats and individuals uh, who are tr-attempting to do us harm on foreign soil. So, uh, that is the, their, uh, purview, um, but, uh, beyond that I would point you to the intelligence community.”

Carlson charged, “They won’t call it spying, that’s exactly what it is. Millions of Americans, and sometimes it does it for political reasons and everyone knows this. Everyone, including sitting members of the Intel Committee. Some of them are paranoid about their own communications, that’s true.”

Carlson’s original charge:

Carlson, long a critic of the Biden administration, had revealed, “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 the show off the air.

“Now that’s a shocking claim and ordinarily we’d be skeptical of it. 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, but unfortunately they do happen. And in this case they did happen,” Carlson confirmed.

He explained the whistleblower, who he described as being “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 was no other possible source for that information, period,” he explained,

He revealed his network filed a Freedom of Information Act request for details of the Biden administration’s spying program, and contacted the NSA and FBI directly, trying to get the details.

“The NSA captured that information without our knowledge and did it for political reasons. The Biden administration is spying on us. We have confirmed that this morning,” he said, adding a warning that others undoubtedly are in the crosshairs, too.

“Spying on opposition journalists is incompatible with democracy. If 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,” he warned.

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