Intel Experts Say It's Unlikely The US Helped New Zealand Spy On Reporter In Afghanistan
WASHINGTON — A U.S. official said Monday that the National Security Agency did not monitor phone conversations between a New Zealand journalist and his Afghan sources, following claims by the journalist that his reporting was monitored by the U.S. intelligence programs revealed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden on behalf of New Zealand's military.
Officials in the intelligence community and experts said if any surveillance was done, it was more likely that his phone calls were caught up by standard military intelligence monitoring of enemy communications in war zones.
The Obama administration brushed off new allegations of NSA surveillance overreach, this time focusing on freelance reporter Jon Stephenson, who was in Kabul, Afghanistan, working for American news service McClatchy and other media outlets when his phone records were reportedly seized.
It was the latest revelation in the ongoing debate over government snooping since Snowden in June revealed two top secret U.S. programs that monitor millions of Americans' telephone and Internet communications each day.
In a short statement to The Associated Press, the U.S. government official said NSA did not target Stephenson or collect his phone records. A U.S. intelligence official suggested that any surveillance could have been run by the Defense Intelligence Agency, which oversees war zone intelligence missions. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the secret program. The DIA did not comment.