Silverstein Goes Undercover

Howard Kurtz takes a look at Harper’s Ken Silverstein, and how he went underground to report a story:

    Ken Silverstein says he lied, deceived and fabricated to get the story.

    But it was worth it, he insists. Those on the receiving end don’t agree.

    As Washington editor of Harper’s magazine, Silverstein posed as Kenneth Case, a London-based executive with the fictional Maldon Group, claiming to represent the government of Turkmenistan. He had fake business cards printed, bought a London cellphone number and created a bogus Web site — all to persuade Beltway lobbying firms to pitch him on representing Turkmenistan.

    “For me to deny, or try to shade the fact that I tricked them would be stupid,” Silverstein says. “Obviously we did. If our readers feel uncomfortable, they’re free to dismiss the findings of the story.”

    Says Harper’s Editor Roger Hodge: “The big question in our mind was whether anybody was going to fall for it.”