Fact-Checking Made Easy

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Here’s an interesting tidbit from “News War,” the new Frontline documentary that begins tonight on PBS (read our review here). How can you tell if a government leak is true? Simple — see if the FBI starts a leak investigation.

Below, Frontline’s Lowell Bergman interviews former FBI counterintelligence director David Szady:

BERGMAN: How do you conduct [FBI leak investigations]…?

SZADY: Well, first of all, you have a victim agency, the owner of the information, those who classified it. What they have to do is file a report, which consists of 11 questions, and those questions go from was the material properly classified, was the information that was leaked accurate compared to what the actual classified information is?

BERGMAN: The information has to be accurate?

SZADY: Yes.

BERGMAN: So when the government announces a leak investigation and it comes to your office, it’s confirming that the report in the newspaper, for example, or on television, was true.

SZADY: Yes. Indirectly, yes.

BERGMAN: That’s one way to fact-check. [LAUGHTER]

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

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