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FBI Chief Backs Agent Who Posed as Reporter (Mashable)
An FBI agent tells an anonymous suspect online that he is a reporter with the Associated Press. He sends a link to a fake news story, and the suspect clicks. The trap is set, and a 15-year-old accused of making bomb threats is captured. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Two weeks ago, The Seattle Times revealed that the FBI had written the fake Associated Press story and used a fake Seattle Times-like Web address in order to catch the suspect in the bomb threat. Kathy Best, the editor of the Times, said the newspaper was “outraged”; the AP and Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, wrote letters to attorney general Eric Holder expressing concern. NYT Then, James B. Comey, the director of the FBI, in a letter published Friday in The New York Times, defended the practice and said that an agent had impersonated an AP reporter in the email. The disclosure caused further outrage at the news organization. The Associated Press / The Big Story “That technique was proper and appropriate under Justice Department and FBI guidelines at the time. Today, the use of such an unusual technique would probably require higher-level approvals than in 2007, but it would still be lawful and, in a rare case, appropriate,” Comey wrote. Kathleen Carroll, executive editor of the AP, said the FBI’s actions were “unacceptable.” New York Daily News “No actual story was published, and no one except the suspect interacted with the undercover ‘AP’ employee or saw the fake draft story. Only the suspect was fooled, and it led to his arrest and the end of a frightening period for a high school,” Comey added. But the AP said the “unacceptable tactics undermine AP and the vital distinction between the government and the press.”