House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Wednesday tasked Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, to investigate the National Security Agency, after the agency bluntly denied allegations by Fox New host Tucker Carlson that it has been spying on him in a conspiracy to get him kicked off the air.
In a statement issued Wednesday, McCarthy noted that he had asked Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to reinstate Michael Ellis, who served as NSA General Counsel, on administrative leave.
“Earlier this year, I sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Austin expressing concern over the politicization of the Agency through the sidelining of Michael Ellis as NSA General Counsel,” McCarthy said. “I asked that Mr. Ellis be reinstated and expressed my concern regarding undue political influence in NSA placing Mr. Ellis on administrative leave.”
After saying that NSA officials have refused to comply with requests from Republican members on the House Intelligence panel, McCarthy turned his focus to Carlson’s wild allegations against the NSA.
“Now, there is a public report that NSA read the emails of Fox News host Tucker Carlson,” McCarthy said. “Although NSA publicly denied targeting Carlson, I have serious questions regarding this matter that must be answered.”
McCarthy then announced that he has recruited Nunes to investigate the allegations that the NSA has denied.
“Given this disturbing trend, I’ve asked HPSCI Ranking Member Devin Nunes to investigate and find answers on behalf of the American people,” McCarthy said. “The NSA cannot be used as a political instrument, and House Republicans will ensure accountability and transparency.”
McCarthy’s announcement comes a day after the NSA issued a statement issued a public statement Tuesday night directly denying Carlson’s claims.
A statement from NSA regarding recent allegations: pic.twitter.com/vduE6l6YWg
— NSA/CSS (@NSAGov) June 30, 2021
Nonetheless, Carlson stood by his allegations against the NSA shortly after the agency issued its statement, saying the NSA’s statement “an entire paragraph of lies written purely for the benefit of the intel community’s lackeys at CNN and MSNBC.”
“We made a very straightforward claim: NSA has read my private emails without my permission,” the Fox News host said. “Tonight’s statement from the NSA does not deny that and instead it comes with this non sequitur: Tucker Carlson has never been an intel target.”
Nunes, a Trump loyalist who was awarded the Medal of Freedom weeks before the former president left office in January, defended Trump during the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and throughout the impeachment proceedings last year.
Nunes also spearheaded a memo in 2018 alleging that the FBI and Justice Department improperly spied on Trump’s associates and that the Intelligence Community had an anti-Trump bias.