Should the Globe have published the name of the FBI agent and the two troopers?

Dan Kennedy ponders whether the Globe should have revealed the names it found thanks to bad PDF redaction - a few months after WBUR found the names but didn't publish them. Does the fact that the FBI agent had some major issues in his past change the calculation?

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    Disclose

    Interesting discussion but I'd agree with the disclose stance. On of the few times to withhold information is if there is a creditable threat that puts someone's life in danger, such as identifying an undercover agent embedded in a hostal group. It would be hard to argue that friends of the accused are in a position to retaliate against these officers personally or at least any more so then any of the hundreds of other people they have investigated as part of police work. Furthermore, any group strongly interested in finding out the identity of the officers could have used the same error in the publicly available PDF.

    But more importantly, being publicly accountable for one's actions is one of the few tools we the people have left to defend against public corruption and abuses of power. No one has been forthcoming about what happened which only furthers the possibility of major, perhaps lethal, error by the authorities. If risk of public disclosure stops an officer from going too far then lets continue the public disclosure -- it's all we have left. As a journalist the burden should be find an overwhelming reason to withhold a public official's identity, not to justify disclosing it.

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    Sunshine

    is the best disinfectant.

    I've actually been impressed with the Globe lately; it's doing what a responsible newspaper is supposed to do in a representative democracy.

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    Globe better?

    By on

    Not disagreeing or agreeing, but in addition to this incident, do you have a few specific examples of why?

    Since they partially took down the paywall (10 free articles per month now) I spend a little bit more time there. But when I hit my limit for the month, I really don't miss it. Curious why you think that it's gotten better? (And yes, there does seem to be less Linda Pizzuti coverage. New Publisher notwithstanding.)

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    Investigative reporting

    I think the recent coverage of ISD's complete non-performance with regard to ratty student housing is likely to implement some change.

    Prior to that, exposure of the taxi and limousine commission have led to changes there.

    The probation department coverage was certainly influential

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    $52K for life after 4 years of service on Oakland PD

    By on

    [FBI agent Aaron McFarlane, 41] retired with a pension of more than $52,000 annually for the rest of his life.

    This is a scandal. Fifty-two large for four years service. Sheesh. Sign me up.

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