Last week, we told you that the Biden administration's largest intelligence-gathering agency, the NSA, had been reading my private emails. Even noting that out loud is weird. It's one of those segments we never thought we would do ever.
But the country has changed that much that fast. And honestly, the whole thing was kind of shocking. The government was spying on us? Come on. It seemed crazy, but it's true. And no one in Washington appeared to be shocked in the slightest. In fact, the usual shills right after our segment had a ready explanation for it.
Either it never happened at all, they said, just a cable news show lying for ratings, or there must have been a good reason it happened. And they begin furiously making excuses for the NSA. A powerful, heavily politicized spy agency surveilling journalists who've been critical of the regime? No problem. It's perfectly normal. Just don't call it spying.
But it's not normal – at all. It is Third World, and as we told you repeatedly, it did happen. Now, that has been confirmed. Yesterday, we learned that sources in the so-called intelligence community told at least one reporter in Washington what was in those emails. My emails. It was nothing scandalous in there. Thank God. We're happy to report that.
Late this spring, I contacted a couple of people I thought could help get us an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. I told nobody I was doing this other than my executive producer, Justin Wells. I wasn't embarrassed about trying to interview Putin. He's obviously newsworthy. I'm an American citizen. I can interview anyone I want and I plan to.
But still, in this case, I decided to keep it quiet. I figured that any kind of publicity would rattle the Russians and make the interview less likely to happen. But the Biden administration found out anyway, by reading my emails. I learned from a whistleblower at the NSA plan to leak the contents of those emails to media outlets. Why would they do that? Well, the point, of course, was to paint me as a disloyal American. A Russian operative. Been called that before. A stooge of the Kremlin, a traitor doing the bidding of a foreign adversary.
And of course, I'm hardly the only person who's been accused of those things in the last several years. We've seen this movie several times now. At the same moment, the Communist Chinese government increases its already stunning level of control over this country, our leaders prattle on about the threat of Vladimir Putin. He's an evildoer, they tell us. A totalitarian dictator.
Vladimir Putin does things that no American leader would even consider. He runs domestic disinformation campaigns. He lies to the public. He punishes people for opposing him, or for believing the wrong things. He even uses intelligence agencies to spy on his own citizens. Beyond the pale stuff. So no decent American would interview Vladimir Putin, at least no reporter from Fox News. That was the point they wanted to make. That's why they plan to leak the contents of my emails to news organizations. And yesterday, as noted, we learned they actually did it.
Even now, some of the media are claiming that we deserve this. Emailing with people who know Putin, are you? Of course, the NSA is watching you. That's what you get. But that's hardly the point. By law, the NSA is required to keep secret the identities of American citizens who've been caught up in its vast domestic spying operations. So by law, I should have been identified internally merely as a U.S. journalist or American journalist. That's the law.
But that's not how I was identified. It was identified by name. I was unmasked. People in the building learned who I was and then my name and the contents of my emails left that building at the NSA and wound up with a news organization in Washington. That is illegal. In fact, it is precisely what this law was designed to prevent in the first place. We cannot have intelligence agencies used as instruments of political control.
Both parties used to agree on that. Democrats were especially adamant on the point, but not anymore. So that's exactly what is happening here. We need to find out how this happened, who did it, who allowed it?
Paul Nakasone would know the answer. Paul Nakasone is the highly political director of the NSA. Paul Nakasone would have been required personally to approve my unmasking. That's how it works. Paul Nakasone should explain who asked for that unmasking and he should do it immediately.
Avril Haines would also likely know the answer. Haines is the even more political director of National Intelligence who oversees all of it. She may have approved the unmasking as well. She would certainly know who asked for it and who approved it. That's her job to know. She should release that information immediately, tonight. And if Avril Haines does not release that information, she should be forced to release that information.
We don't have a lot of power, we’re just a TV show. But we're going to keep pushing for that because it matters. Not just to us, but to the entire country. You can't have a democracy in a place where unaccountable spy agencies keep people in line by leaking the contents of their emails, discrediting them with their own emails, which they thought were private. It doesn't work if you allow that. And we suspect congressional Republicans will also demand an answer.
Many have finally awakened to the fact that the intelligence agencies, which they have blindly supported for so long, are not, in fact, their friends. They're not the friends of anyone in this country. They're dangerous. That's obvious.
This article is adapted from Tucker Carlson's opening commentary on the July 7, 2021, edition of "Tucker Carlson Tonight."