The National Security Agency on Tuesday denied spying on Fox News host Tucker Carlson after he accused the agency of monitoring his electronic communications in an attempt to take his show off the air.
“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 Twitter. “NSA has a foreign intelligence mission. We target foreign powers to generate insights on foreign activities that could harm the United States."
"With limited exceptions (e.g. an emergency), NSA may not target a US citizen without a court order that explicitly authorizes the targeting," the agency added.
Carlson, a frequent critic of President Joe Biden, alleged on his show Monday night that “a whistleblower within the U.S. government” informed him that the NSA was "monitoring our electronic communications and is planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off the air."
"The Biden administration is spying on us," he said.
Despite the denial from the NSA, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on Wednesday called for an investigation.
"For the past several months, I've seen a disturbing trend at the National Security Agency. The NSA cannot be used as a political instrument," McCarthy said in a statement. "I’ve asked Rep. Devin Nunes to investigate and find answers on behalf of the American people."
In response to the NSA's statement, Carlson said during his show Tuesday that the agency did not deny reading his emails.
The conservative host has a history of making false or exaggerated claims. In September, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News, saying Carlson "is not 'stating actual facts' about the topics he discusses and is instead engaging in 'exaggeration' and 'non-literal commentary.'"
The judge continued: "Given Mr. Carlson's reputation, any reasonable viewer 'arrive(s) with an appropriate amount of skepticism' about the statement he makes."
A Fox News spokesperson referred NBC News to Carlson's Tuesday night segment.
The NSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Carlson's additional claims on Tuesday evening.