The FBI has imposed new restrictions on its agents' ability to masquerade as reporters following an uproar over the impersonation of an Associated Press journalist, but the agency has stopped short of ruling out the practice as news organizations had wanted, reports CBS.
An inspector general report released Thursday said the FBI recently instituted new policies requiring top-level approval before agents can pose as journalists, calling the changes an "important improvement" over past practices. But it also said the impersonation was permissible under policies in place at the time and suggested that there may still be undercover operations in which the tactic might be used.
The AP and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press sued the FBI last year after it emerged that the bureau had impersonated an AP journalist to send a bogus news article that was booby-trapped with surveillance software.
The ruse, in 2007, resulted in the trial and conviction of a teenage bomb hoaxer in Washington state.