- Tucker Carlson sought an interview with Vladimir Putin before he accused the NSA of spying on him.
- Carlson publicly accused the NSA of monitoring him as part of a plot to take his show off air.
- The NSA later said in a statement that Carlson’s “allegation is untrue.”
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Fox News host Tucker Carlson was seeking an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin shortly before he accused the National Security Agency of spying on him, Axios reported Wednesday.
In late June, Carlson claimed the NSA was monitoring his Fox News show after he said a source tipped him off about it as part of a plot to take it off air.
Carlson said his source – “who is in a position to know” – repeated information for him and his team about a story they were working on “that could have only come directly from my texts and emails.”
“It’s illegal for the NSA to spy on American citizens,” Carlson said during the June 28 segment. “Things like that should not happen in America. But unfortunately, they do happen. And in this case, they did happen.”
The federal agency later denied his claim, saying the Fox News host “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.” Carlson responded by calling the statement “infuriatingly dishonest.”
Around the time he made the spying claims, Carlson was in talks with US-based Kremlin intermediaries to secure up an interview with Putin, sources familiar with the conversations told Axios. The sources said US officials learned of Carlson seeking an interview with the Kremlin leader, and in turn, the Fox News host learned that the government was aware, thus fueling the basis of his spying accusation.
“As I’ve said repeatedly, because it’s true, the NSA read my emails, and then leaked their contents. That’s an outrage, as well as illegal,” Carlson said in a statement to Axios.
Representatives from the NSA did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.
A spokesperson for Fox News told Axios that the media outlet supports “any of our hosts pursuing interviews and stories free of government interference.”