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NSA: Amanpour, other CNN reporters not targeted for surveillance

From David Ensor
CNN Washington Bureau

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CNN's Christiane Amanpour

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A senior U.S. intelligence official told CNN on Thursday that the National Security Agency did not target CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour or any other CNN journalist for surveillance.

NBC raised the question in an interview with The New York Times reporter James Risen, asking him whether he knew anything about possible surveillance of Amanpour by the NSA. Risen, author of a new book, "State of War: the Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration," said he had not heard anything about it.

NBC posted a transcript of the interview on the MSNBC.com Web site Wednesday, then quickly removed the page. In a statement posted on the industry weblog TVNewser, the network said the transcript was "released prematurely," and that reporting would continue.

The interview was not broadcast on any NBC news program, the network said.

The senior official said that from time to time NSA surveillance overseas "inadvertently" acquires recordings or copies of communications involving Americans -- or what the government calls "U.S. persons," which includes most U.S. residents and employees of American companies. By law, however, such materials are required to be erased or destroyed immediately, the official said.

Intelligence officials rarely comment on who they may or may not have collected information about, but because of all the speculation on Internet blogs, the senior official agreed to look into the matter for CNN. Another official privately said he was "puzzled" by NBC's decision to publish the raw transcript of the interview.

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