An online gamer who posed as a White House reporter tricked the press into getting some of their questions into the White House briefing room at least four times in the last several months.
The unidentified gamer, according to Politico, created an online persona for “Kacey ‘Lego’ Montagu.” Sometimes, Montagu, identified as a White House correspondent for a fictitious outlet called “WHN” and other times posing as a political correspondent for a “WHSG.” On at least one occasion, Montagu claimed they worked for the British tabloid The Daily Mail.
The person established faux credibility by setting up two Twitter accounts, @WHSchedule and @WHPoolReport, that posted White House-related information, including schedules and other reporting. The accounts were followed by both individuals working in the Biden administration, such as First Lady Jill Biden’s secretary Michael LaRosa, and White House correspondents.
Montagu also had a LinkedIn profile.
The gamer filed Freedom of Information Act requests, spoke to White House officials, and was in contact with White House reporters. Posing as Montagu, the person successfully got some reporters to ask White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki four questions on the made-up correspondent’s behalf.
During the pandemic, reporters who go into the briefing room have been asking additional questions on behalf of colleagues that could not be there because of the restrictions.
Some of those reporters, Politico reports, work for The Plain Dealer, CQ Roll Call, and the Washington Blade. They asked for President Joe Biden’s comment on Microsoft being hacked and about pandemic-related travel bans, among other things, on behalf of Montagu.
Montagu also reached out to aides for the first lady, the president, and Vice President Kamala Harris with questions.
The identity of the person behind the “Montagu” persona is unclear but they are believed to be a gamer that’s part of the gaming platform ROBLOX, where users jokingly call themselves “Legos.”
“I love journalism, and I think the press corps is doing a pretty bad job at the moment, so I decided I would ensure some transparency and ask some questions me and some friends wanted the answer to,” Montagu told the outlet.
Montagu’s scheme to create transparency included filing Freedom of Information Act requests, obtaining personal financial disclosure forms on Psaki and national security adviser Jake Sullivan, and emailing questions to White House communications aides and to President Joe Biden, Jill Biden, and Vice President Kamala Harris with praiseworthy notes about “how cool their roles must be.”
Montagu also sent emails to White House reporters while they were in the briefing room to solicit answers from Psaki. Politico reports Montagu wrote to reporters White House News “could not be present ‘due to social distancing regulations,’ before asking that a question be asked on their behalf.”
Montagu wrote to the White House press pool:
Recently the White House has had read outs of calls and has the name of the people saying ‘Senior Administration official’ so why isn’t the White House releasing the names of people in the calls, making these comments so that they can be held accountable to the American people?
“I created them as some fun but also to ensure that people know what is going on — they should be able to know what POTUS and V.P. is doing and I think the account following shows people are interested in that.”
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.