Reuters / Jessica Rinaldi
The Associated Press issued a harsh denunciation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after the internal intelligence agency admitted one of its agents had posed as an AP reporter during a 2007 criminal investigation.
An FBI agent impersonated “an employee of the Associated Press” as part of an operation to bring charges against a young suspect believed to be delivering bomb threats at a high school in Olympia, Washington, FBI Director James Comey wrote in a letter to the New York Times on Thursday.
The comments come as the latest revelations in a story that rattled the news industry last week when it was discovered that the FBI in 2007 had created a mock-up of the Seattle Times in order to spread spyware on to a suspect’s computer.
The FBI’s sting operation involved sending a bogus Seattle Times article to the suspect’s MySpace account. The link, which directed the suspect to an Associated Press article called“Bomb threat at high school downplayed by local police department,” was hosted on an FBI computer, and, when clicked, secretly revealed the suspect’s location and IP address.
Kathleen Carroll, executive editor of the AP, slammed the FBI’s covert activities as“unacceptable.”
“This latest revelation of how the FBI misappropriated the trusted name of the Associated Press doubles our concern and outrage, expressed earlier to Attorney General Eric Holder, about how the agency’s unacceptable tactics undermine AP and the vital distinction between the government and the press,” Carroll said in a statement.
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