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Rubio presses DNI to investigate alleged unmasking of Tucker Carlson
The top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee is calling on the director of national intelligence to investigate allegations that the federal government "unmasked" Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
In a letter to Avril Haines, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said that recent media reports that "Mr. Carlson was unmasked by a government agency" have "only fueled the perception that unmasking is being used as a political hammer or to satisfy curiosity."
"As such, it is essential that the IC [intelligence community] - under your leadership - hold itself to account if misconduct has occurred, and convincingly reassure an American public increasingly attuned to the perception of widespread misconduct where it has not occurred," Rubio wrote.
Late last month, cybersecurity news outlet The Record revealed that there was no evidence to support a claim Carlson made that he had been spied on by the federal government but also reported that the agency had uncovered the host's name in third-party communications through "unmasking."
"Unmasking" is a process by which senior intelligence officials can learn the identity of subjects under government surveillance who are otherwise listed anonymously if they believe there is a national security rationale for doing so.
Fox News slammed the National Security Agency (NSA) when news of the alleged unmasking broke, calling it "entirely unacceptable."
"For the NSA to unmask Tucker Carlson or any journalist attempting to secure a newsworthy interview is entirely unacceptable and raises serious questions about their activities as well as their original denial, which was wildly misleading," the network said.
Carlson first told his viewers in late June he had been contacted by a whistleblower who alerted him to the fact that he had been spied on by the federal government.
"The whistleblower, who is in a position to know, repeated back to us information about a story that we are working on that could have only come directly from my texts and emails," he said. "There's no other possible source for that information, period."
In a rare rebuke of a private citizen, the NSA denied the top-rated host's claims that it had spied on him.
"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 agency said in a statement.