Two undercover Greek reporters discovered, the hard way, that investigative journalism isn’t without its risks. Hoping to get a scoop, they reportedly tailed Greek State Minister Nikos Pappas on his official visit to New York. Tracking his every move, their plan came undone when they got hungry and decided to charge the meal worth 20 dollars to the Greek delegation’s account by forging the signature of one of Pappas’ aides at the Westin New York Grand Central. Or so the story goes…
Suspicion was also raised when US secret service agents noticed that the two Greek reporters – allegedly wearing wigs – were taking photographs of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ security officers that had arrived for the 71st UN General Assembly earlier on Sunday. The two men – journalists with private Star and Alpha TV stations – were said to have lied about their identity, claiming to be members of the Greek delegation travelling with Tsipras. The pro-government Greek Athens News Agency reported of the incident – the news story went viral.
The Athens News Agency reported that after being questioned by police, they were charged with forgery on account of having signed for a meal while said to have been impersonating government aides. They have been released temporarily.
Dimitris Soultogiannis, a foreign correspondent for Star TV commented that reports regarding his arrest were “at least funny”. He said that all he was doing outside the hotel was his duty as a journalist. “It is true that we were at the hotel with Thanos Dimadis from Alpha TV to be informed about [Pappas] schedule in New York,” he said. “This seems to have bothered his personal security and so they called US secret services. There was a simple identification process. Of course there was no law-breaking, and so after they identified that I am a law abiding American citizen they left without bothering us. I won’t go into the process of commenting on the allegations of disguises or forgery.”
The six lies
1. The two journalists were at the hotel to receive Pappas’ NY schedule so that they could carry out their duties as members of the press.
2. The two journalists were not disguised, unless you count a baseball cap and sunglasses that Soultogiannis was wearing as a disguise.
3. There was no forgery or attempt to impersonate a political delegate.
4. The two men were not arrested, but merely questioned and identified before being let go.
5. The two men did not charge Pappas’ account with a 20-dollar meal.
Draconian security measures have been implemented in New York for the United Nations General Assembly that is being attended by leaders from around the world. Safety measures were upgraded following the explosion that rocked Manhattan this weekend resulting in 29 injuries from an intentional bomb blast.
No sooner was the news out that the two Greek reporters had been captured, that Twitter was abuzz with their exploits as masters of disguise: