David Garrett Jr., a writer who says he posted a threat against CNN as a “joke,” was questioned by the FBI on Thursday over the post.
The FBI said in a bulletin that it was investigating the threat, which was posted on PasteBin. “The result of investigation by CNN is so excellent that you might have seen what we were doing with your own eyes,” the post said, referring to an article about the Sony hack. “We congratulate you success. CNN is the BEST in the world. You will find the gift for CNN at the following address.”
The post said “you have 24 hours to give us the Wolf,” referring to host Wolf Blitzer, and included a link to a YouTube video that featured dancing cartoon figures repeatedly saying “You’re an idiot.”
The post was initially treated as a serious threat, according to the bulletin.
“While it’s hard to tell how legitimate the threat is, if a news organization is attacked in the same manner Sony was, it could put countless sensitive sources in danger of being exposed—or worse,” Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, told The Intercept.
But Garrett later came forward to claim that he made the post.
“My fake pastebin post is being investigated by the FBI. I wrote for CNN to ‘give us the Wolf’ and the FBI is actually taking it as a threat,” the homeland security Examiner writer said via Twitter. “It was a joke. And to show that no one investigates anything. Everything is rumors. I had no idea it would be taken seriously.”
Garrett later said that he was set to meet with the FBI. Afterward, he spoke to The Desk.
“They seemed most interested in the reporters I’ve talked to or have contacted me,” Garrett said. “They were also interested in my level of expertise and it’s my impression, based on their questions, that they believe I’m a hacker.”
Garrettt also said investigators had already connected his computer’s IP address to the PasteBin post, although agents didn’t contact him before the interview.
“I didn’t hide my IP because I had no ill intent,” Garrett said. “They knew who I was right away when I posted it so I am a little surprised that if this was such a big deal that they didn’t contact me.”