Tucker Carlson Calls To ‘Punish’ Lawmakers Who Pushed Failed FISA Bill

Following the failure of Republican legislators to approve the reauthorization of a controversial intelligence bill, conservative journalist Tucker Carlson called for accountability among officials who pushed for the law that has been criticized for its misuse against Americans.

The comments came in the aftermath of a recently failed attempt by members of Congress to pass a bill that would renew Section 702 of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). That specific section of the legislation has stirred up intense debate as some conservatives argue that its language opens the door for unlawfully spying on American citizens through personal communications.

Carlson began his monologue by pointing out that FISA was used to target former President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign as government officials sought to “crush [him] completely.” The presumptive GOP presidential candidate—who has criticized the reauthorization bill himself—was a victim of similar attacks throughout his presidency and current campaign, Carlson said.

After broadly condemning the federal government for spying on Trump and accusing members of Congress of “lying” without shame, the conservative pundit pointed to Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) as an example of lawmakers in support of FISA falsely claiming that the bill would never permit federal government agencies and officials to investigate personal communications of citizens without warrants.

Carlson backed his claim that the government has spied on citizens before, contradicting Turner’s argument, with a personal anecdote about how the National Security Agency (NSA) “broke into my text messages, read them, passed them to news organizations in order to discredit me and then admitted that they did that.”

He added that he was targeted because he had sent text messages to “a foreigner outside our borders,” which provides the precedent to cite FISA for monitoring but does not, as Carlson said, constitute an active foreign threat.

The journalist described the government’s ability to spy on citizens and leak private information to the media as a “major power” that “they want to keep.” He also cited reports that individual Congress members were being pressured by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to vote in favor of the reauthorization bill. Carlson pushed forward with his call for accountability, criticizing House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) for his support of the bill he said is absolutely necessary, but the journalist said “did not prevent 9/11” or other threats from foreign nationals.

The controversial bill, promoted as one that enables government agencies to collect intelligence about foreign nationals and potential threats, was blocked by Republicans on Wednesday, April 10.