Reporter impersonation

Reporters Committee troubled by FBI's stance on impersonating journalists

Press Release | September 15, 2016
September 15, 2016

David Boardman, chairman of the steering committee of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, issued the following statement today related to a report by the Department of Justice's Inspector General on the FBI's impersonation of journalists:

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is deeply troubled by today’s disclosure in a report from the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General that the FBI believes that there is a place in this country for federal agents to impersonate journalists. Such a policy can seriously damage both the public's trust in its free press and the ability of journalists to hold government accountable. We urge the Justice Department to take seriously the need for reform and the importance of protecting the integrity of the newsgathering process.

Letter to DOJ, FBI regarding Seattle FBI media impersonation

November 6, 2014

The Reporters Committee led a media coalition protesting a Seattle FBI effort to use a fake Associated Press news article and web site to ensnare a criminal suspect. The protest letter was submitted to the Attorney General and the Director of the FBI.

Deputy poses as Newsweek reporter to ID anonymous source

Kathleen Cullinan | Newsgathering | Feature | August 18, 2008
August 18, 2008

A sheriff's deputy in North Carolina posed as a Newsweek reporter to coax an anonymous source out of a local newspaper journalist. And it worked.

In a case of scandal climbing atop scandal, the deputy got The (Jacksonville) Daily News reporter Lindell Kay to hand over the phone number of a source in a high-profile homicide case, leading to criminal charges against an intern in the local district attorney's office.