Newspaper Duped Into Story on Phony FBI ‘Raid’

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A fake FBI raid staged by a notorious right-wing activist and conspiracist turned into an embarrassment for the Washington Post, which briefly reported the faux event as if it were the real deal, the Post reports. The “raid” on a house in Arlington, Va., Monday actually involved actors recruited by Jacob Wohl, who has a history of making false accusations and has orchestrated dubious events in an effort to smear perceived opponents of President Donald Trump. Wohl recruited actors to pose as FBI agents, telling them they would be participating in a scene for a “TV pilot,” said one of the actors. The actors donned FBI-style windbreakers and pretended they were raiding a house during early-morning hours. Wohl used photos to trick a reporter into believing that Wohl associate Jack Burkman, was being targeted by law enforcement. The Post briefly reported Monday that a real FBI raid had taken place. The story was updated about two hours later to note that the raid was a fabrication.

The story unfolded as a confluence of falsehoods by Burkman and Wohl coupled with lapses by journalists. A purported neighbor of Burkman emailed a tip to the newspaper to report that, “His house was being raided by the FBI.” Burkman and Wohl later corroborated this version of events to the Post; Wohl said agents had taken computers, papers and cellphones. Burkman is longtime conservative lobbyist and recent conspiracist. Together with Wohl, a 22-year-old former hedge fund manager with a history of investment scandals, the pair have mounted failed media stunts. After the Post published a story, the Daily Beast had posted a more detailed story, noting that the raid had been staged.

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