CIA Policy Is Not Unique p.8

By: DEBRA GERSH HERNANDEZ the CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE Agency is not the only government agency where there are concerns about agents posing as journalists.
Last year, the Society of Professional Journalists complained about U.S. Postal Inspectors who posed as reporters in order to gain information for a case (E&P, July 29, 1995, p. 9).
Postmaster General Marvin Runyon reacted quickly, advising inspectors "to not assume the identity of journalists for investigative purposes" (E&P, Sept. 16, p. 11).
It has been more difficult, however, to get other federal law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, to issue such an edict.
"We've gone back and forth with attorneys general over the years, including Janet Reno, over the whole issue," said Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press executive director Jane E. Kirtley.
"The best [policy] we got is that it has to be approved by the special agent in charge under extraordinary circumstances," she said. "We never got a flat-out prohibition."
Kirtley said she worries about policies like the CIA's not only because of the obvious implications, but also because "it sends a message to law enforcement in this country."
?(CIA director Adm. Stansfield Turner told E&P. "Shortly thereafter, I described it in full detail to the ASNE [American Society of Newspaper
Editors]. "It's not a secret," he said of the exception clause)


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