Friday, January 06, 2006

Spying on Reporters? Or Political Opponents?

Did the White House spy on reporters as part of the wiretapping scandal? And did they pick up any juicy tidbits about the Kerry Campaign in 2004 through the warrantless wiretaps?

Twenty-three US Congress members are asking the White House about that. They've fired off a letter to President Bush requesting information about some of the potential targets of the warrantless wiretapping order.

We told you yesterday how NBC disclosed that CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour (right) may have had her phone calls bugged. The Congressmen ask in their letter whether any reporters or other members of the media were targeted.

The Raw Story has the complete text of the letter.

Shades of Watergate?

Meanwhile, Tim Grieve at points out that Ms Amanpour's husband is Jamie Rubin -- a former Clinton State Department appointee and member of the John Kerry Presidential campaign in 2004 -- when the wiretapping program was in full swing:

If the Bush administration was listening in on Amanpour's phone, was it listening when she talked with her husband? Was it listening when he might have used her phone himself?
Mr Grieve points out nothing's been proven about any Amanpour wiretap -- but says when you go around the rules -- like the administration did with the domestic spying program -- you invite these kinds of questions.

Update, Friday Afternoon: Trust Us, We're the NSA

The National Security Agency said Friday afternoon that they had never tapped Ms Amanpour's phone.

Generally spy shops will "neither confirm nor deny" things such as thins. But the issue had gotten such play -- and the matter of warrantless wiretaps has caused such bad PR for an agency that went through similar problems in the 1970s -- that they looked int the matter right away when CNN called.

But considering the questions of truthfullness already raised in the administration's handling of hte wiretap scandal -- don't expect the story to die anytime soon. (TRS/

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