The Associated Press sued the U.S. Department of Justice last Thursday over the FBI’s failure to provide public documents regarding a fake news story devised to surreptitiously plant surveillance software on a suspect’s computer.(1)
“At issue is a 2014 Freedom of Information request seeking documents related to the FBI’s decision to send a web link to the fake article to a 15-year-old boy suspected of making bomb threats to a high school near Olympia, Washington. The link enabled the FBI to infect the suspect’s computer with software that revealed its location and Internet address,” reported The Associated Press.(1)
The FBI abused the name of The Associated Press, and has undermined its credibility on a mass scale. Although the FBI conjured the story in order to target a single individual, the suspect could have easily spread the story on social media, severely damaging its reputation. In reality, the news story was a piece of fraud disseminated by the government.
Nevertheless, the Justice Department makes no qualms about its behavior. FBI Director James Comey argued that the scheme was “proper and appropriate” under the Justice Department guidelines that were in place at the time. The AP reported, “He said that such a ruse would likely require higher-level approvals now than it did in 2007, but that it would still be lawful ‘and, in a rare case, appropriate.'”(1)
The AP is demanding that the FBI reveal how many times they have posed as a member of the press since 2000 in an effort to plant surveillance software. The FBI claims that it may take up to two years to provide a copy of the requested records. In response, the AP requested a federal judge to mandate the FBI to hand over the records.