Experts: Unlikely US helped NZ spy on reporter

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By KIMBERLY DOZIER and LARA JAKES, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. intelligence officials and experts say if the National Security Agency did eavesdrop on phone conversations between a New Zealand journalist and his Afghan sources, it was likely part of standard military intelligence monitoring of enemy communications.

The Sunday Star-Times reported that the New Zealand military conspired with the U.S. to monitor Stephenson who was working for a U.S. media outlet in Afghanistan. New Zealand officials denied the new allegations and U.S. intelligence authorities and the White House declined immediate comment Monday.

But experts and former intelligence officials said if Stephenson's phone records were collected, they were likely gathered in a military intelligence sweep that is shared among in war zones, where there is little expectation of privacy in the hunt for enemy combatants and suspected terrorists.

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