Spooks may be guilty as heck, but the outrage is misguided

The Americans’ obsession with all things Russia is no longer funny. Rather, it has become an embarrassment.

First and foremost, if the American mainstream media and sundry politickers avoided politicking, they would have known it’s not the Russian Federation they should be scared of, it’s the People’s Republic of China.

The Russians, under their President Vladimir Putin, pursue what could be described as “Make Russia Great Again” policy.

The Chinese, under their President Xi Jinping, pursue a policy of “let’s see how far we can get with getting the rest of the world under our thumb.”

That the Chinese have the U.S. by the testicles has become an established fact, with the arrival of Joe Biden’s administration: the People’s Republic of China won this war without wasting a single bullet. Fake news of a killer virus sufficed.

Whom do the Americans owe the most money?

It was in this context that Fox News host Tucker Carlson approached several Russians who he thinks could help him score a sit-down, one-on-one interview with Putin.

The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) intercepted Carlson’s communications, which, in and of itself, happens to be illegal on their part. The agency is not allowed to spy on Americans. And, by the way, neither is Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

But NSA went one step further: it shared the content of Carlson’s e-mails with journalists that it knows are on the opposite side of the political spectrum. The hope was obvious: these journalists may find it interesting to write stories about Carlson being a Russian mole.

They didn’t manage to nail President Donald J. Trump on Russian collusion charges, unsubstantiated each and every one of them. All their efforts ended as eggs in their own faces. So, why should they not try to smear a guy whom they all hate, and who works for a network they all hate?

Sordid details

Carlson described NSA’s action as a “totally dysfunctional, out-of-control third-world system” of targeting political opposition.

He has a point, of course, but it’s not the main point.

Carlson may have had another point: he accused NSA of trying to find damaging material that would force Fox to take his top-rated show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, off the air.

NSA denied Carlson’s allegation, but if there ever was a half-baked denial, this was the one: the Fox host “has never been an intelligence target.”

By not saying they never intercepted Carlson’s communications, and they never shared them with anybody outside of their organisation, NSA basically confirmed Carlson’s charge.

Besides, the rule that has been known as an absolute in authoritarian countries, seems to take hold in the U.S.Q., too: don’t believe any rumours (allegations, charges, your pick) until and unless they’d been officially denied.

Jonathan Swan, a reporter for Axios, reported that Carlson had reached out to “U.S.-based Kremlin intermediaries” about a potential Putin interview in recent weeks. The story by Swan — an occasional guest on Fox News programs like Special Report — cited “sources familiar with the conversations.”

What or who is Axios? An American website that posts what it considers news. Based in Arlington County, Virginia, it came to life in 2016. Its parents: former Politico journalists Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz. Axios is a Greek word (ἄξιος), meaning “worthy”.

What kind of publication is Politico?

An openly left-wing magazine that, from time to time, blows with the prevailing winds, but mostly stays on course supporting the so-called “progressive” ideas.

Obviously, there seems to be a pattern developing.

Carlson would elaborate, telling his audience: “Late this spring, I contacted a couple of people I thought could help us get an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. I told nobody I was doing this other than my executive producer, Justin Wells.

“I wasn’t embarrassed about trying to interview Putin. He’s obviously newsworthy. I’m an American citizen, I can interview anyone I want, and I plan to. But still, in this case, I decided to keep it quiet. I figured that any kind of publicity would rattle the Russians and make the interview less likely to happen. But the Biden administration found out anyway by reading my e-mails.”

Cloak and dagger stuff

The U.S. intelligence tried to “unmask” Carlson, the Fox News host said.

As Carlson put it, the NSA planned to leak his e-mails to media outlets.

Why?

They tried to “paint me as a disloyal American, a Russian operative (I’ve been called that before), a stooge of the Kremlin, a traitor doing the bidding of a foreign adversary.”

In the intelligence world’s lingo, the word “unmasking” describes the spooks’ way how to reveal the names of American citizens corresponding with foreign nationals under surveillance. Officials with proper security clearance can ask the spies to make this step, provided they have a good reason, and can prove it in court.

The last such publicised effort happened during the Barack Hussein Obama presidency: top officials, including then-Vice President Joe Biden, tried to “unmask” the identity of then-National Security Adviser designate Michael Flynn during the Russia investigation. As a result, The Washington Post reported on Flynn’s conversations with then-Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

That would lead to Flynn’s resignation, unwarranted as it was, as later events would prove.

In Carlson’s case, the mainstream media have been strangely quiet. This approach differs wildly from their expressions of shock and disgust when the Trump Justice Department had been accused of seizing the records of Washington Post and New York Times reporters. This accusation led to weeks of coverage.

The Biden administration would later declare it is committing to ending such practices.

That President Biden has issues with memorising the simplest replies to the simplest of questions has been known.

That his administration, under his guidance, has been playing the game of dirty pool with unusual abandon has been known, too.

That they engage in illegal activities is self-explanatory to all, with the exception of the ideologues who pose as members of the journalistic community.

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