Ric Grenell calls for federal action against alleged Tucker Carlson NSA leaker

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Former acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell on Saturday said actions should be taken against the person who allegedly “unmasked” Fox News host Tucker Carlson to the National Security Administration.

Mr. Grenell, who led the intelligence agency from February to May of 2020, cited his experience when discussing how he believes Mr. Carlson allegedly became an interest of the NSA.

Mr. Carlson accused the NSA last month of tracking his emails in an attempt to take down his popular primetime show, Tucker Carlson Tonight. The host said on Wednesday he believes his identity was illegally unmasked and leaked to the media after he had sought an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“There is a process,” Mr. Grenell said while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference’s second conference in Dallas. “Somebody asked who this U.S. person was. And they went through the process of unmasking, and then somebody came in and said to this person … it’s Tucker Carlson from Fox News. That should have never been shared with anybody.”

Mr. Grenell added that if a person did take such actions to unmask, there must be federal consequences, including prosecution for federal crimes related to unmasking and unlawfully leaking the information to the media.

“There are two violations there,” Mr. Grenell said. “And somebody should lose their security clearance, and possibly be prosecuted.”

Mr. Carlson urged the leaders of the NSA and the DNI to release any information on the person who named him within the agency during his show on Wednesday.

“By law, I should have been identified internally merely as a U.S. journalist, American journalist. That’s the law,” Mr. Carlson said. “But, that’s not how I was identified. I was identified by name. I was unmasked. People in the building learned who I was.”

The NSA, however, denied Mr. Carlson’s charge that they’ve engaged in any monitoring efforts against him. 

“This allegation is untrue,” the agency said in a statement. “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.”

Tucker Carlson Tonight, a show highly cited and watched by conservatives, reaches roughly three million people a night, according to Nielsen. It was the most-watched cable news show in May.

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