ABC News Mistake Leads To Exposure Of Mark Foley's IM Partner

William Kerr at Passionate American has discovered the identity of the one of the persons that Representative Mark Foley communicated with in instant messages. Kerr was able to find the identity of the former congressional page due to the ineptitude of ABC News, who published the AIM screen name of Foley’s chat buddy in the initial PDF release of the IM exchange.

Tens of thousands of people saw the screen name in the PDF’s attached to Brian Ross’s report at ABC’s The Blotter before it was fixed; and many more were alerted to ABC’s failure sanitize their documents in a comment made one hour and six minutes after Ross’s story was published:

One of the worst things is that this news story showed the kid’s screenname (before fixing it), which allows anyone to find his personal information, pictures of him, websites he’s posted on, etc. This is such terrible editing, I can’t believe it. Getting a news story out quickly is one thing, but giving out the names of everyone involved is irresponsible.
Posted by: Random | Sep 29, 2006 7:05:37 PM

ABC never bothered to remove that comment, so those reading the post days latter knew that ABC had “blown it” when first publishing the story. That was like a big banner announcing that the identity of Foley’s IM partner could was out there for an enterprising sluether to find. The fact that Kerr was able to identify the victim is hardly a surprise, given that his AIM screen name was visible on the ABC website for nearly an hour; it was bound to happen…

All that said, there is absolutely no value in Kerr’s publication of the young mans identity. The young man clearly was under 18-years-old when at least one of the IM conversation took place, “i’m not 18 till feb 23” and Foley’s trolling for young teen boys was hardly a Hill secret. The publication of the young man’s identity – he’s a Republican campaign worker – is actually a rather sorry moment in the history of the blogosphere…

Where Did The Foley Story Start?
ABC News Has Problems... Big Problems

14 Comments

  1. Lee October 5, 2006
  2. Scrapiron October 5, 2006
  3. Jim Addison October 5, 2006
  4. Lee October 5, 2006
  5. Jim Addison October 5, 2006
  6. Soupy2c2 October 5, 2006
  7. mantis October 5, 2006
  8. Lee October 5, 2006
  9. Jim Addison October 5, 2006
  10. Jim Addison October 5, 2006
  11. Faith+1 October 5, 2006
  12. epador October 5, 2006
  13. Brian October 5, 2006
  14. Lee October 7, 2006