The FBI office in Seattle created a fake news story on a bogus Seattle Times webpage to plant software in the computer of a suspect.
The target, accused of a series of bomb threats to Lacey’s Timberline High School in 2007, had a link sent to his MySpace account and when they clicked on the link, the hidden FBI software sent his location and Internet Protocol information to the agents. A juvenile suspect was identified and arrested June 14th.
Seattle Times Editor Kathy Best said that she was outraged by the disclosure, which “misappropriated the name of The Seattle Times”. “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.”
Frank Montoya Jr., the special agent in charge of the FBI in Seattle, defended the investigation and the technique, which court records show led to the arrest and conviction of a 15-year-old student.
“Every effort we made in this investigation had the goal of preventing a tragic event like what happened at Marysville and Seattle Pacific University,” Montoya said. “We identified a specific subject of an investigation and used a technique that we deemed would be effective in preventing a possible act of violence in a school setting.
“Use of that type of technique happens in very rare circumstances and only when there is sufficient reason to believe it could be successful in resolving a threat,” he said.
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