Fake White House Press Corps Reporter Posed Questions To Jen Psaki
The digital age has democratized everything, apparently, including access to the White House press corps. In a stunning show of digital prowess, a fake reporter named Kacey Montagu infiltrated their ranks and got questions posed directly to press secretary Jen Psaki.
Montagu’s profile had been carefully crafted over a period of time, but no one knows who she or he is — officially. Online, Montagu was believed to be a White House correspondent for the fictional political outlet White House News, or WHN for short. According to Politico, the fake reporter posed as a member of the White House Correspondents Association to confidants, claiming to be a reporter for British tabloid The Daily Mail.
On top of that, Montagu emailed questions to press aides and White House press corps “colleagues'' looking to get answers from Psaki during the Biden administration's daily White House briefing. The WHN “reporter” used the cover that they couldn’t be present “due to social distancing regulations,” before asking that a question be asked on their behalf. As Politico reports, Montagu successfully duped correspondents from The Plain Dealer and CQ Roll Call, among others, asking about everything from Covid-19 travel bans, to coming ambassadorships, to Biden’s reaction to Microsoft being hacked.
“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 said, when reached by email and asked why they were posing as a White House reporter.
Once holes appeared in Montagu’s online persona, however, Politico began piecing together the fragments of her fake identity. In various conversations, Montagu claims to be an “18-year-old law student from the United Kingdom who was born in the U.S. before moving across the pond with their family at age six,” as well as “studying political science” and “socially liberal and conservative on economic issues,” yet not motivated by politics.
(via Politico): Acquaintances online suspect much of the biographical information to be untrue. They believe Montagu’s White House moonlighting began as something to boast about in the online global gaming platform called ROBLOX, where users jokingly call themselves “Legos.” Within that platform is a role-playing group called nUSA, where people from across the world engage in a mock U.S. government exercise.
Montagu has two Twitter accounts: one by the name Kacey ‘Lego’ Montagu, whose background image is the late Prince Philip and avatar is YouTube star Trisha Paytas.
He or she also began tweeting from the handles @WHschedule and @WHpoolreport as far back as December 2020. There, the individual posted daily schedules for the president, first lady, vice president, and second gentleman as well as the so-called pool reports, which are “real-time dispatches from a small group of journalists tasked with following around those principles during the course of the day and reporting back to the rest of the press corps on their movements and utterances.” Between the two accounts, Montagu drew in nearly 2,000 followers in a few weeks’ time.
Montagu’s recent request of Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson, however, seems to be the one that finally set off alarms. Johnson asked the question, which was reportedly about Biden’s relationship with former President Barack Obama and whether the White House would bring back Presidential portrait unveiling. Soon after, though, Mediaite began investigating the “absent colleague” Johnson mentioned—Montagu — and in short order, her online social accounts began disappearing.
A now-deleted Linked In profile for the faux reporter once listed Montagu as “Chief Political Correspondent" at WHS; it also, however, featured a shot of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson eating an ice cream cone as the account’s profile picture. Twitter, however, suspended @WHschedule “for mimicking the White House’s color scheme and not disclosing that it had no affiliation with the U.S. government.”