Roger L. Simon

NBC, NSA and Amanpour

From 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.

All things considered, it wouldn’t be entirely amazing that the NSA targeted Amanpour, considering the inaccurate things a key CNN executive said about our troops and the network’s coddling of dictators to gain access, although it would also be entirely wrong of the NSA to have done it (short of probable cause for espionage, etc.). But the interesting thing here is not just CNN or the NSA but also NBC. Where did this story come from and why was it so quickly withdrawn? Joe Gandleman has more.