By Jill Dougherty
The U.S. ambassador to Russia is questioning the scrutiny he's getting from Russian state media and has suggested in social media messages that his phones and e-mails are being hacked.
"Everywhere I go NTV is there. Wonder who gives them my calendar? They wouldn't tell me. Wonder what the laws are here for such things," Amb. Michael McFaul wrote on Twitter Thursday about the government-run television network. "When I asked these 'reporters' how they knew my schedule, I got no answer," he wrote in a follow up message.
But it wasn't just the constant presence of the media in his personal space that concerned the American envoy. Invasion of privacy is also an issue, he charged in a second tweet.
"I respect press right to go anywhere & ask any question. But do they have a right to read my email and listen to my phone?" he asked.
The Russian embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to CNN requests for a comment on the situation.
When asked by reporters in Washington whether McFaul was directing his tweets toward the Russian government instead journalists, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the tweets were "not directed at journalists or the media." McFaul was "simply asking a rhetorical question," Toner added, saying he did not know if the messages were directed at the government.
Toner was unaware if the U.S. Embassy had officially raised the issue of McFaul's tweets with the Russian government.
McFaul, who had a rough reception from some government-controlled media for his outspoken support of pro-democracy groups, has appeared frequently in public in Moscow. At those appearances, protesters have shown up to heckle him and voice their displeasure with his message. A senior administration official told CNN the ambassador decided to publicly confront the issue by tweeting about it.
The architect of the Obama administration's so-called "re-set" policy with Russia, McFaul has had a contentious relationship with the government-run media since his arrival in Moscow earlier this year. An analyst on a government network said McFaul was a "specialist purely in the promotion of democracy," and suggested his agenda was dedicated to supporting opposition leaders in the country.
McFaul has spent his career in government and academia, focused on the former Soviet Union and Russia.