Fox News host Tucker Carlson and GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz have frequently promoted conspiracy theories.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Wednesday called on the federal government to investigate a conspiratorial claim by Fox News host Tucker Carlson that he is being spied on by the National Security Agency, better known as the NSA.
On multiple nights on his program on the conservative Fox News channel, Carlson has alleged without evidence that he is under surveillance. Carlson has claimed that a "whistleblower" told him that the agency has been getting information from his "texts and emails."
"The Biden administration is spying on us. We have confirmed that," Carlson declared on Monday night, without presenting any information to confirm the allegation.
The agency on Tuesday made a rare public comment to respond to Carlson.
"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," the NSA said in a statement.
On Wednesday during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, entitled "Secrecy Orders and Prosecuting Leaks: Potential Legislative Responses to Deter Prosecutorial Abuse of Power," Gaetz amplified the claim from Carlson.
Speaking to the House judiciary chair, Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Gaetz said, "Join me in calling for inspector general investigation into any monitoring that the NSA or any other element of the intelligence community has engaged in relative to Tucker Carlson."
Gaetz characterized the NSA's official response as "couched denials that raise more questions than they provide answers."
Carlson's allegation was also boosted in opening remarks from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who is the ranking member for the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee.
"They didn’t deny that they had reviewed his communications," Jordan said in reference to the NSA statement.
In 2014, a leak of NSA data revealed a widespread phone surveillance program, but Carlson's allegation of being personally targeted has not been substantiated.
Carlson has a history of promoting conspiracy theories and misinformation on his Fox News show. He recently falsely claimed that the Biden administration is looking at "abolishing the suburbs." Carlson has also promoted the racist conspiracy theory that Latino immigrants are coming to America as a "replacement" for white people. And over 2020 and into 2021, Carlson has repeatedly promoted false conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and the vaccines for the virus.
Carlson also alleged on June 16, without presenting any evidence, that the FBI was behind the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. This was a story later promoted by Gaetz, along with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).
Gaetz's past is also characterized by an embrace of conspiracy theories.
Gaetz has alleged without evidence that Democrats engaged in "ballot laundering" to win 2020 election races, echoing a claim of manufactured votes he made about Democrats in 2018. That year, he appeared on the program of 9/11 and Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to allege that a "deep state" plot was attempting to undermine Donald Trump's presidency.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.