Tucker Carlson was trying to get an interview with Putin before making a claim to the NSA

Tucker Carlson.

Tucker Carlson. Rich Polk / Getty Images

Shortly before Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed on his June 28 show that he was being spied on by the National Security Agency, he was communicating with US-based Kremlin intermediaries in hopes to arrange an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, people familiar with the case said Axes.

U.S. government officials learned that Carlson was trying to score the interview, people at Axes, and once Carlson found out they knew, he brought his charge against the NSA. On his June 28 show, Carlson alleged that a whistleblower had contacted him and said the NSA “was monitoring our electronic communications and planning to disclose them in an attempt to take this show off the air.”

He added that the whistleblower “returned us information about a story we are working on that could only have come from my tests and emails. There is no other possible source for this. information. Full stop. ” The NSA responded the next day, say Carlson’s claim was “false” and he was “never an agency intelligence target and the NSA never intended to try to get his program off the air.”

Axes contacted Carlson about his reporting, and he replied, “Like I’ve said many times, because it’s true, the NSA read my emails and then leaked their contents. It’s a scandal, as well as illegal. ” A Fox News spokesperson told the outlet the network supported “any of our hosts pursuing interviews and stories without government interference.” Axes has not confirmed whether Carlson’s communications have ever been intercepted by US intelligence, and if so, why.

Many American journalists have interviewed Putin, and Axes said it is not clear why Carlson would think his overtures to Kremlin intermediaries could have triggered NSA surveillance. It is possible that one of the people Carlson communicated with was being watched as a foreign agent, but had their messages with Carlson been picked up, his identity would have been withheld from intelligence reports. To unmask an identity, U.S. government officials must apply and prove it is necessary to fully understand the information.

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