New Zealand probes report it spied on journalist

Associated Press

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand's government says the defense force is investigating a report it collected phone metadata to spy on a journalist in Afghanistan who was freelancing for U.S. news organization McClatchy.

And the country's Minister of Defence acknowledged Monday the existence of an embarrassing confidential order that lists investigative journalists alongside spies and terrorists as potential threats to New Zealand's military.

The Sunday Star-Times newspaper reported that New Zealand journalist Jon Stephenson was spied on by the defense force after it became unhappy at his reporting on how it treated Afghan prisoners.

New Zealand is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance that also includes the U.S., Britain, Australia and Canada.

Stephenson wrote for several news organizations and was a freelancer for McClatchy for about 10 months last year.

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