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‘None of Us Are Safe’: How US Journo Was Hit With ‘Kremlin’ Label & Looped Into NSA Dragnet

© Photo : PixabayOnline spying
Online spying - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.03.2023
In an exclusive interview with Sputnik News, Grayzone correspondant Anya Parampil said that by targeting both herself and “the most high-profile TV personality of our time,” the US government has “taken the War on Terror surveillance powers to really absurd lengths.”
Almost two years after Fox News host Tucker Carlson revealed the National Security Agency (NSA) was spying on his personal correspondence, the identity of the supposed ‘Kremlin intermediary’ he was alleged to have been in contact with has finally been revealed. The only problem? Instead of a Russian official, it was actually an American journalist.
Ever since June of 2021, mystery has surrounded the popular Fox News personality’s on-air disclosure that he’d heard “from a whistleblower within the US government” who reached out to warn his team that the NSA “is monitoring our electronic communications and is planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off the air.”
At the time, mainstream media coverage of the story largely attempted to discredit Carlson’s claims. But within a week, their tune began to change, and by early July, the Western press began to suggest that if the surveillance occurred, it must have been justified.
Citing “sources familiar with the conversations,” an article published by Axios just over a week later insisted “Tucker Carlson was talking to US-based Kremlin intermediaries about setting up an interview with [Russian President] Vladimir Putin shortly before the Fox News host accused the National Security Agency of spying on him.”
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At that point, even the NSA itself seemed to acknowledge it could have spied on the journalist. In a statement, the agency admitted “we target foreign powers to generate insights on foreign activities” and insisted that under “limited exceptions (e.g. an emergency),” the NSA could “target a US citizen without a court order.”
Now, an explosive new report by investigative journalist Anya Parampil indicates that both she and Carlson were caught up in an NSA dragnet which was apparently targeting Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
Writing for the independent American outlet The Grayzone, Parampil revealed that not only did multiple messages between Ryabkov’s team and Carlson’s assistant appear to have been tampered with, but that she was labeled a “Kremlin intermediary” for sending emails attempting to introduce the two public figures.
In her report, Parampil condemned the anonymous US government sources cited by Axios, who she said “weaponized my mere existence, through innuendo, in order to suggest Tucker was involved with Kremlin agents.”
“By undermining [Carlson’s] credibility, they aimed to invalidate his character and, by extension, his anti-war positions,“ she explained.
Speaking with Sputnik News, the Grayzone journalist said she was dismayed to discover how she was being portrayed in news reports. “For anonymous officials to have gone to the press and described me as a Kremlin intermediary was really just a manipulative and dishonest tactic that they used,” she lamented.
Parampil told Sputnik she was initially surprised to discover her communications with another high-profile journalist were being spied on by the NSA.
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“As a US citizen, I always expect my fundamental right to privacy,” Parampil said. “And considering I’m a journalist, and Tucker is also a journalist, such spying is also a violation of the rights of a free press as well.”
But the revelation that she’d been spied on by her own government didn't come as a complete shock.
“Considering the US government’s complete lack of regard for its own domestic laws ever since the launch of the War on Terror, I can’t say that I was completely surprised to learn that our rights had been violated in such a way,” she noted.
“As part of a strategy to undermine Tucker’s reputation,” Parampil explained, “I did find it predictable that the US government would leak something without being specific in order to allude that I was a ‘Kremlin agent.’”
Although those who planted the story “were definitely trying to suggest that I was officially representing the Kremlin in some capacity and communicating with Tucker in some way that was inappropriate,” she told Sputnik that such a description “was, and still is, an absurd and completely unfounded characterization.”
As for the source of the leaks, the Grayzone journalist says it’s still not clear exactly what basis her anonymous accusers had for labeling her a Russian agent.
“I don’t know whether they were basing the description of me on the fact that I worked for RT America years ago, or that I had forwarded an email from Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov, but, for some reason, his emails weren’t reaching [Carlson],” stated Parampil, who added, “I believe they weren’t reaching [him] as a result of US government interference.”
As Parampil tells it, the case demonstrates that there are no longer limits to how far the national security state will go to keep Americans in line.
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“It shows that all of our rights – whether it’s freedom of the press, or individual privacy – are under attack.”
By “targeting the most high-profile TV personality of our time,” Parampil said, the US government has “taken the War on Terror surveillance powers to really absurd lengths.”
“If they can go after Tucker in this way, they can really go after anyone,” said the journalist, who added that she’d “like to know why there aren’t more people in the media raising questions about the surveillance of Tucker.”
“Regardless of their own politics or how they view his opinions, it should be something that all journalists rally to oppose. Because if they come after one of us, then none of us are safe.”
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