WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand on Monday disputed a newspaper report saying its military conspired with U.S. spy agencies to monitor a freelance journalist in Afghanistan, a report that has provoked concerns over how surveillance programs revealed by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden might be used to spy on reporters.

The New Zealand government said Monday there is no evidence to support a report in the Sunday Star-Times newspaper that the military was assisted by the United States in monitoring the phone data of journalist Jon Stephenson, a New Zealander working for the U.S.-based McClatchy news organization.

The report is the first indication that the NSA's techniques may have been used to spy on a journalist. It challenges U.S. claims that the NSA programs were not used to target specific individuals, but rather to compile large pools of usage data.