Judge Nap: AP Could Sue FBI Over Fake News Story Used to Catch Bomb Suspect
The FBI has admitted that it wrote a fake Associated Press (AP) story in 2007 to help catch a suspect in a series of high school bomb threats, and now news executives are claiming the agency crossed the line.
AP spokesman Paul Colford said, "We are extremely concerned and find it unacceptable that the FBI misappropriated the name of The Associated Press and published a false story attributed to AP."
The FBI sent a link to a 15-year-old suspect’s MySpace page to lure him into opening the article. When he did, it downloaded law-enforcement malware that revealed his location and Internet Protocol address to agents investigating the threats that had led to several evacuations at Timberline High School in Lacey, Thurston County.
That link led to a bogus Associated Press story about the bomb threats, said FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich-Williams.
Judge Andrew Napolitano said on "Shepard Smith Reporting" today that when the government is investigating a crime, it can lie, cheat and steal in order to catch a defendant, but it can only do those things to the defendant it's trying to catch.
In this case, the AP is a victimized third party, according to Judge Nap, and the FBI violated copyright law, trademark law and state and federal Internet fraud laws.
The AP can sue the FBI over the inappropriate use of its trademark and will likely prevail, Judge Nap said.
To win a potential lawsuit, the AP will have to demonstrate what the loss was, in this case integrity and reputation. Experts will then be called into court to put an actual dollar figure on the damages.
The FBI, on the other hand, will claim qualified immunity, meaning they were engaged in legitimate law enforcement, and this injury to the AP is an accidental byproduct.
Judge Nap concluded the FBI committed federal and state crimes and could be investigated by the Justice Department they work for.
Watch the clip from "Shepard Smith Reporting" above.