The Seattle Times is reporting that in 2007 the FBI created a fake news story and made it look like a Times page in order to capture a suspect in a series of bomb threats.
Documents about the case show that the FBI created a story about the recent bomb threats and falsely attributed it to the Associated Press. The bureau then made an email link and sent it to the suspect’s MySpace account.
To say the Seattle Times isn’t happy is a bit of an understatement.
“We are outraged that the FBI, with the apparent assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, misappropriated the name of The Seattle Times to secretly install spyware on the computer of a crime suspect,” said Seattle Times Editor Kathy Best.
“Not only does that cross a line, it erases it,” she said.
“Our reputation and our ability to do our job as a government watchdog are based on trust. Nothing is more fundamental to that trust than our independence — from law enforcement, from government, from corporations and from all other special interests,” Best said. “The FBI’s actions, taken without our knowledge, traded on our reputation and put it at peril.”
The FBI made sure to point out that the article it wrote did not use an actual Seattle Times article, but simply made it look like it was a Seattle Times article.
For the record, that doesn’t make Kathy Best any happier.