Nightly News   |  February 07, 2014

Top U.S. Diplomat’s Gaffe Heard ‘Round the World

Vladimir Putin’s government is having a field day over America’s diplomatic stumble.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> reporter: there is trouble between the u.s. and russia tonight on another front. the business of diplomacy, after somebody posted on the internet the very clear recording of a private phone call between two u.s. diplomats over the dicey matter of the current unrest in ukraine . it is real, the u.s. can't hide from it and they are pointing the finger at russia . we get our report from chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell .

>> reporter: vladimir putin is having a field day as they chanted outside the embassy. center stage , victoria nuland , the top diplomat, trying to make light of the incident.

>> the audio was extremely clear.

>> reporter: too clear, they were heard around the world talking to the u.s. ambassador about ukraine , and using the f-word. the bigger fallout on ukraine . nuland was also heard sizing up the rebel leaders, sounding like a chicago ward captain.

>> so i don't think klitsh should go in.

>> reporter: accusing the u.s. of meddling, but had russia bugged her phone?

>> the u.s. was the first to tweet about this particular call. only a few countries have the level of capabilities needed. i'll let you use your judgment.

>> reporter: nuland has been tough on russia , and feeding them bread even.

>> we're here from america, would you like some bread.

>> reporter: putin has also gone against the u.s. ambassador to russia , who is now leaving his post and talked to richard engel today.

>> what is unusual to me is this would be put on youtube or wherever it was, that seems like something extraordinary.

>> reporter: germany's chancellor is said to be furious, others say a word of caution is necessary.

>> we should take a little more care in the language we share points of view with each other.

>> reporter: in other words, watch what you say, somebody may be listening, andrea mitchell , nbc news, washington.