(PatrioticPost.com)- Following the filing of two lawsuits, after an FBI agent pretended to be a reporter for The Associated Press and concocted a bogus story, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press will get a $145,000 compensation.
According to Adam Marshall, an attorney for the group, the protracted Freedom of Information Act cases resulted in appeals court decisions that will support access to public records. The trials also made it clear that FBI agents had been impersonating media people, a practice that proponents of the free press claim damages media credibility and blurs the barriers between the press and law enforcement.
According to records found in the complaint filed with The Associated Press, the agency disregarded its policies on such undercover operations when an agent impersonated an AP writer and emailed a link to a bogus story during an investigation in Washington state in 2007.
In 2014, then-FBI Director James Comey deemed the method proper and appropriate under FBI procedures, but he added that it would need higher-level approvals. He claimed that although there was no real story, it resulted in an arrest.
Reports show a 15-year-old accused of making bomb threats at a high school received a link to the false article from the agent posing as an AP writer. When the teen clicked the link, a tracking device located his computer and assisted authorities in verifying his identity.
Kathleen Carroll, the then-AP executive editor, maintained that the FBI’s practices weakened AP and the crucial difference between the government and the press.
The revelations were deemed inexcusable in a letter signed by two dozen news organizations. The Reporter’s Committee explicitly criticized the use of the AP’s name as a cover for the distribution of electronic surveillance software.
The lawsuits, which were brought to obtain records about FBI impersonations in the news media, eventually led to significant court rulings about the requirements agencies must meet to withhold documents and the depths to which they must search for requested documents, according to Adam Marshall. Attorney fees and expenses will be covered by the settlement.
According to Marshall, there are important, worrying, and ongoing difficulties concerning federal law enforcement impersonating the press in the United States.
The media and the State are fighting about fake news. Now that’s funny.