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State department evasive on McFaul’s bugging suggestion

March 30, 2012, 4:33 UTC+3
The U.S. ambassador asked on Twitter how Russian media, and in particular, the NTV commercial channel, comes to know his schedule
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WASHINGTON, March 30 (Itar-Tass) — The U.S. State Department provided evasive comments on Thursday to suggestions by Ambassador Michael McFaul to Russia that his phone might be bugged and e-mails hacked.

State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner told a regular briefing McFaul was “simply asking a rhetorical question.”

The U.S. ambassador asked on Twitter how Russian media, and in particular, the NTV commercial channel, comes to know his schedule.

"Everywhere I go NTV is there. Wonder who gives them my calendar? Wonder what the laws are here for such things?" McFaul said.

"I respect press right to go anywhere and ask any question. But do they have a right to read my email and listen to my phone?" McFaul tweeted. "When I asked these 'reporters' how they knew my schedule, I got no answer."

Asked whether McFaul was addressing journalists or the Russian government, Toner said: “A rhetorical question is not directed at anyone.”

However pressed by reporters he said “I will take the question as to whether we have raised our concerns about whether this is in violation of his (McFaul’s) personal rights or his Vienna Convention rights with the Russian Government.”

 

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