FBI agent took down teen hacker by pretending to be a reporter – and media didn’t like that
Raphael Satter of AP reports:
The young hacker was told in no uncertain terms: You are safe with me.
“I am not trying to find out your true identity,” AP journalist Norm Weatherill assured the teenager in an online chat. “As a member of the Press, I would rather not know who you are as writers are not allowed to reveal their sources.”
But Norm Weatherill was no reporter. He was FBI agent Norman B. Sanders Jr., and the whole conversation was a trap. Within hours, police descended on the 15-year-old hacker’s home and led him away in handcuffs for making a week and a half of emailed bomb threats at his high school in Washington state. He eventually confessed and was sentenced to 90 days in a juvenile detention center.
The 2007 bust would put an end to the bomb scares and save graduation at the school but would also raise a troubling question that is unanswered to this day: How often do FBI agents impersonate members of the news media?
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