“We regard any targeted collection of the metadata of our journalists as a serious interference with McClatchy’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news," McClatchy's Anders Gyllenhaal and Karole Morgan-Prager write in a letter to U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The letter comes in response to a report in a New Zealand newspaper that the country's government used U.S. intelligence to help track McClatchy journalist Jon Stephenson.

The chief of the New Zealand Defense Force has denied it "monitored" Stephenson, but Gyllenhaal and Morgan-Prager's letter notes that his statement "failed to specifically address the collection of metadata."

“Absent a well-founded, good faith belief that a journalist is engaged in terrorist activity, compiling and analyzing a journalist’s metadata would violate core First Amendment principles and U.S. law," Jonathan S. Landay reports the letter said.

Previously: New Zealand says it’s not spying on McClatchy journalist