FBI officials told CNN they will be tightening up their media relations policy and restricting media access to employees. The policy will be implemented beginning this week, following a conference in Washington where field agents from each office attended. FBI director James Comey began a reign of transparency when he stepped into the role, to gain more public trust by engaging with news media more.
Talk for a stricter policy arose when rumors about where information was leaked from regarding the Trump administration and Russian associates. The FBI has also been under fire when the Clinton email server scandal came out and questions about where leaks concerning that issue had originated. But later finding out that these weren’t exactly leaks, and not all information reported was factual, the FBI came to the conclusion that there wasn’t enough information to pursue the case.
The new policy will ensure that only management level employees will be available for questioning from the media, in addition to their PR team.
Doubling down on media contact with employees wasn’t just prompted by rumors of Russian spies and fake news stories, but a new reality show in the works. Later this month, a new TV show about the operations of the New York FBI field office will be airing.
“I worry sometimes that people don’t know us,” said Comey during a discussion following at a screening of the show.