Earlier Friday, former FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann – the top deputy in ex-Director Robert S. Mueller III’s special counsel investigation into whether Donald Trump colluded with the Kremlin in 2016 – claimed on MSNBC that Carlson is behaving in an “anti-American” manner and is undermining civilians’ trust in the national security state and federal institutions with his claims about the NSA:
“What I’m concerned about here is not that there was incidental collection when I am calling a foreigner … if you try to reach out to Vladimir Putin, you can pretty much be sure that your going to be high risk of being intercepted – [but Carlson] could have said, look, there is a First Amendment issue here and I want to make sure that there are safeguards at the Department of Justice,” Weissmann said Friday.
“But he didn’t take that route. He … wanted to use this really for his own purposes and to sow distrust which is so anti-American instead of raising legitimate issues about safeguards in the system when you are dealing with journalists.”
Additionally, ex-FBI Assistant Director of Counterintelligence-turned MSNBC contributor Frank Figliuzzi openly doubted whether Carlson is telling the truth about a “whistleblower” informing him of his name being identified by the NSA.
Carlson told host Mark Steyn that Weissmann is the last person that should be lecturing anyone about being “anti-American,” given his overtly partisan behavior during Mueller’s probe.
“First of all, to be lectured by patriotism who think America is systemically racist is beyond belief,” Carlson said. “The fact that Andrew Weissmann is on television and apparently paid — a corrupt prosecutor which he is – he ought to be facing charges for what he did during the Russia investigation.”
“Instead he is waxing on about what patriotism is and how if you complain about the corrupt system then you are unpatriotic, submit to an unjust system, or else you are a bad person.”
The host added that Weissman essentially believes Carlson, or anyone else, should “fill out a Ministry of Truth comment card and set up an appointment to see the Kommissar-General” if they find out the national security bureaucracy is reading their emails – rather than the “Tucker Carlson Tonight” host’s tact of publicly laying out his allegations on television.
Later, Carlson remarked that Figliuzzi was off-base in his assertions that he acted in an unusual or untoward manner:
“The FBI stooge in the first clip said something that really does reveal a lot: He said really this is cover because Carlson was emailing with people or talking to people he shouldn’t be talking to and he was worried about that – who thinks like that?” he asked.
“I’m an American. I can talk to anybody I want. I can have any opinion I want. I’m not embarrassed about my opinions or who I talk to. Why would I be?”
“Again, if you think I’m committing a crime, charge me with one: That’s a kind of totalitarian way to think and I hope it hasn’t infected the country.”
The NSA previously put out a statement responding to Carlson’s accusations, saying its mission is based in foreign intelligence and that it only surveils citizens in “emergency” situations requiring a court order.
“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 statement reads.
Carlson has reported that a whistleblower with knowledge or a connection to the NSA, shared information with him that would have only been recognizable to the host and an unidentified individual he had been corresponding with, about a story that “Tucker Carlson Tonight” is working on. Carlson elaborated that his team also tried repeatedly to get ahold of Gen. Paul Nakasone, the Trump-appointed head of the agency.
On Wednesday, Carlson had further reported that Reps. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., called for a congressional investigation into the potential that the NSA is or was in possession of data from his texts and/or email messages.