Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Probe finds fake DHS press briefing in 2006


Late last month, FEMA came under intense criticism for staging a fake news conference on the California wildfires at which agency staffers posed as journalists and asked softball questions. But as AP reports today, this “was not the first time a Homeland Security public affairs official has acted like a reporter by asking questions during a briefing”:

In January 2006, an official with Immigration and Customs Enforcement asked a question during a news conference in San Antonio, Texas, according to an investigation by the Homeland Security Department — the parent agency of both FEMA and ICE.

The ICE public affairs official was standing with about 12 reporters but did not identify herself when she posed the question, Homeland Security’s head of public affairs, J. Edward Fox, wrote in a Nov. 19 letter to the chairman of the House Homeland Security committee. The government employee was verbally reprimanded for asking the question after the news conference, Fox told Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.

Fox has assured Thompson that “reforms to FEMA’s external affairs are already under way.”

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