Tucker Carlson sought a meeting with Vladimir Putin through U.S.-based Kremlin staff shortly before he began making claims that the National Security Administration was spying on him, Axios has reported.
According to the website, Tucker was speaking with “U.S.-based Kremlin intermediaries” about a potential interview with the Russian president – likely for one of his two shows on the Fox News network.
Fox News declined comment to TheWrap and pointed to a statement from its spokesperson to Axios, which noted, “we support any of our hosts pursuing interviews and stories free of government interference.”
Tucker told Axios directly: “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.”
Tucker’s claims that he is being spied on and his emails leaked to reporters by the National Security Administration first surfaced June 29, when he said during an episode of Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that he’s been a target of the Biden’s administration. “The Biden administration is spying on us. We have confirmed that this morning,” Tucker said at the time.
The popular Fox News anchor on Wednesday told Fox Business host Maria Baritromo that the NSA was leaking copies of his communications and emails to reporters.
There’s no proof the NSA has kept an eye on Tucker’s communications. Axios notes in its article that “it is unclear why Carlson, or his source, would think this outreach could be the basis for NSA surveillance or a motive to have his show canceled.”
As Axios also reports, there’s nothing inherently wrong or unusual about journalists on either side of the political spectrum reaching out to foreign leaders for interviews. Many American journalists have interviewed Putin, including Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who gained an Emmy nomination for interviewing the Russian head of state in 2018.
The NSA denied Tucker’s accusations that he was directly targeted.
“This allegation is untrue,” the agency said in a rare public rebuke. “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.”