FBI agent impersonated AP reporter in criminal investigation

The bureau’s director said the portrayal of a journalist was within legal and appropriate boundaries in the 2007 case. The news organization disagreed.  

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Documents that revealed the FBI used a fake news story, supposedly from the Associated Press, to trap a bomb threat suspect surfaced last week. However, that wasn’t the worst of it.

The organization also impersonated an AP reporter to catch the 15-year-old suspect in the 2007 case.

The guise was adopted after a series of bomb threats and cyber attacks directed toward a Seattle-area high school. The suspect ended up being arrested.

In a letter to The New York Times, Director James Comey said an agent “portrayed himself as an employee of The Associated Press and asked if the suspect would be willing to review a draft article about the threats and attacks, to be sure that the anonymous suspect was portrayed fairly.”

A link to a software tool that verifies Internet addresses was embedded in the bogus article. The suspect revealed his computer’s location and IP address when he clicked the link, helping agents confirm his identity.

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