FBI agent impersonated AP reporter in criminal investigation


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.

Comey said the “technique was proper and appropriate” at the time, but admitted it would most likely require more approvals now than it did in 2007.

“Every undercover investigation involves ‘deception,’ which has long been a critical tool in fighting crime,” he said.

The issue at hand is not the FBI’s toolkit of deceptive practices. Rather, it’s about the important distinction between the press and the government, and the violation of that distinction.

In a letter to Comey and Attorney General Eric Holder, the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press said the impersonation was “unacceptable” because it threatens journalists’ ability to independently report on the news.

The letter also stated “the practice “endangers the media’s credibility and creates the appearance that [the media] is not independent of the government.”

An AP blog post said the organization was “outraged” by the impersonation and echoed those concerns. AP’s senior vice president and executive editor, Kathleen Carroll, said the following:

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.

What do you think, Ragan readers? Does this do any lasting damage to the FBI’s reputation? Will it make it harder for everyone, PR pros included, to trust those identifying themselves as reporters?

Beki Winchel is co-editor of PR Daily. 

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Stéphanie Beaudoin Is ‘World’s Hottest Criminal’ And A Viral Sensation


What is it with the internet’s fascination with good looking criminals in 2014. First convicted felon Jeremy Meeks went viral thanks to his slack-jawed mugshot. Now, Stéphanie Beaudoin is taking the internet by storm.

Beaudoin allegedly committed 42 break-ins throughout the Canadian towns of Arthabaska and Maple, and is now facing more than 100 criminal charges.

If the story ended there Stéphanie Beaudoin would be just another criminal who got caught because she couldn’t cover her tracks well enough. Instead, a photo f Beaudoin in a bikini hit the web, and people all over the world went nuts for her.

Almost immediately Stéphanie earned the moniker “world’s hottest criminal” and “world’s sexiest robber.”

Here’s the Stéphanie Beaudoin bikini pic that stole the hearts of so many guys:

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In case you are curious, that tweet translates from French to English as: “The list of charges against the alleged thief Stéphanie Beaudoin continues to grow.” Also growing is the list of admirers who are calling for her immediate release.

It’s hard to deny her moniker after looking at her photo, of course that doesn’t make her crime spree any less illegal.

But don’t let her sexy looks fool you, the 21-year-old robber led a group of 13, 15, and 17 year old kids to commit the crimes.

The team at the Montreal Journal offered a bit of insight into the Stéphanie Beaudoin robbery spree:

“… The nursing student broke into unoccupied homes, through the back door or through a window of the basement.

She was also accused of stealing and illegally owning nine improperly stored firearms.

Despite her potentially dangerous arsenal, men on Twitter are still inviting her to break-in to their homes anytime she wants:

Stéphanie Beaudoin won’t just steal your heart, she’ll steal all of your stuff and then mock you with sexy bikini pics posts on Twitter.

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