NBC News national security contributor and former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi said Thursday on MSNBC’s “Deadline” that Fox News host Tucker Carlson and the Republican Party were trying to erode the public’s trust in their institutions of government so they are only people who can be trusted.
Discussing Carlson’s commentary on being monitored by the NSA, anchor Nicolle Wallace said, “Carlson’s dangerous accusations have added to a growing chorus of distrust in our country’s intelligence agencies all started during the presidential transition by the disgraced ex-president.”
Figliuzzi said, “The NSA is perhaps the most secretive agency in our government. They have a mission that is squarely targeted against foreign threats, and their job is to capture communication from individuals designated as of interest in terms of national security. It’s in the nation’s security to collect those communications against those foreign targeted individuals, their phone numbers, and their emails. It clusters organizations and known emails and phone numbers and other electric addresses for those targets.”
He continued, “Obviously, if someone trips into that electronic coverage because they’re communicating with a foreign target, they will trip into that intercept. Here is how it works if it’s believed, even believed, that person is a U.S. person, a U.S. individual, and their information would be masked. It might say suspected U.S. person or suspected phone number, suspected American journalist, and that would be the end of it. I am not convinced at all this whistle-blower actually exists. What better way for Tucker Carlson to cover his rear end because he’s called a Russian intelligence officer or intermediary for the Kremlin? He gets worried about it. He decides to go on the offensive and announce that ‘the NSA is listening to me’ and have them try and deny it. I think it’s a good cover.”
Figliuzzi said, “As you said, there’s something much larger going on here. Another page in the playbook of folks like Tucker Carlson and the GOP who want to continue to erode the public’s trust in their institutions. If you keep doing that enough, the objective is you can’t trust your institutions and the career professionals and then the only people you can trust are us. And you get to reshape the truth into your own version of reality. That’s what’s going on here.”
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