US Envoy in Russia Suggests E-Mail, Phone Being Monitored

Posted March 29th, 2012 at 4:40 pm (UTC-5)
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The U.S. ambassador to Russia has suggested that his e-mail and phone are being monitored, as journalists keep showing up at the locations where he is holding meetings.

Ambassador Michael McFaul wrote on Twitter Thursday that he respects the right of the press to go anywhere and ask any question, but asks “do they have a right to read my email and listen to my phone?”

“When I asked these 'reporters' how they knew my schedule, I got no answer,” he says.

In one tweet, he wonders who is giving the Russian channel NTV his schedule, saying the broadcaster is “everywhere” he goes.

In Washington, State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner says he does not believe the ambassador's messages are directed at the Russian government, journalists or the media.

Toner says “I believe he was simply asking a rhetorical question, commenting on the fact that wherever he goes in Moscow, he's finding a large media presence, some of it hostile, and he's wondering how they're getting word about his schedule.”

Rather, the spokesman says that using Twitter is one way for chiefs of missions to raise issues for discussion in an informal way, directed at a broad number of followers.

Ambassador McFaul has long been an advocate of democracy in Russia. He arrived in Moscow two months ago and faced a groundswell of anti-Americanism.