House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield) deputized Rep. Devin Nunes (R–Tulare), the senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, to probe the National Security Agency following allegations of political pressure and use of foreign intelligence-gathering tools to spy on Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
In a statement, McCarthy expressed a doubling of concern over the decision to place Michael Ellis, once the National Security Agency 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.”
McCarthy also said that NSA officials have refused to comply with requests from Republican members on the House Intelligence panel.
“Now, there is a public report that NSA read the emails of Fox News host Tucker Carlson,” McCarthy’s statement read. “Although NSA publicly denied targeting Carlson, I have serious questions regarding this matter that must be answered.”
Nunes, selected by McCarthy to launch an investigation into the signals intelligence agency, cut his teeth on probing the U.S. Intelligence Community in the early aughts of the Trump administration over abuse of foreign intelligence processes to gather damaging information against Trump campaign officials with little-to-no national security cause.
“The NSA cannot be used as a political instrument, and House Republicans will ensure accountability and transparency,” the GOP leader said.