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SEOUL, South Korea — New Zealand's prime minister says his country doesn't spy on journalists, but it's theoretically possible reporters could get caught in surveillance nets when the U.S. spies on enemy combatants.

Prime Minister John Key was responding Monday to a newspaper report that said the New Zealand military, assisted by U.S. spy agencies, collected phone metadata to monitor journalist Jon Stephenson. Stephenson is a New Zealand freelance journalist who last year was reporting in Afghanistan for American news organization McClatchy.

Key, who is traveling in Seoul, told reporters Monday that in a hypothetical example, a journalist who called a member of the Taliban who was being monitored by the Americans could show up in records.

Key said he's not saying that's what happened in the Stephenson case.