How the NSA Ends Up With Information on Americans Without Targeting Them

During a June 28 show, Fox News’s Tucker Carlson told his viewers that a whistleblower within the U.S. government had warned him that the National Security Agency (NSA) was monitoring his electronic communications and was planning to leak them in an attempt to take his show off the air. This week, a group of House Republicans led by Rep. Louie Gohmert sent a letter to the NSA demanding more information.

Carlson’s accusation prompted the NSA to make a rare public statement denying that Carlson had been personally targeted—but the statement didn’t deny that any of Carlson’s communications had been collected by the agency.

Axios later reported that Carlson was communicating with Kremlin intermediaries in the United States about setting up an interview with Vladimir Putin, which potentially could have created a scenario in which the NSA incidentally collected Carlson’s communications.

The NSA’s mission is to support national security and foreign policy by protecting classified national security information and collecting information about foreign adversaries’ secret communications.  It typically carries out its mission through three separate operations: hacking operations, overseas collection, and domestic collection.

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