The FBI created a bogus Seattle Times web page and posted a fake news story in an attempt to plant software on the computer of a juvenile suspected of making bomb threats at a high school in 2007, the Seattle Times reports.
The discovery by the ACLU was revealed on Twitter and comes less than a month after the FBI revealed it created a fake Facebook account using a real person and photos.
Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist for the ACLU, said the creation of bogus news site could result in “significant collateral damage to the public trust” if the FBI continues the practice.
Documents show that the FBI attributed the story about bomb threats to the Associated Press.
Once the juvenile clicked on the link, the software sent his location and Internet Protocol information to investigators.
The Seattle Times expressed outrage.
“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.”