The news agency, started by the United States during World War II, has been the trusted source of information for citizens in countries around the world that do not embrace freedom of the press. A series of problems at the agency dig away at that trust. Reporter Tomas Regalado and his camera man stand accused of faking a mortar attack on Mr. Regalado in Manguaga, Nicaragua last year. And internal controls at the news agency found that a deputy to the agency’s CEO embezzled $37,000 through the submission of fake hotel bills and other fake receipts for travel. The deputy admitted the fakery and will be sentenced. Last year, the agency fired 15 journalists for accepting “brown envelopes” from Nigerian officials. “Brown envelopes” is code language for bribes.
The agency, still being run by Obama administration appointees, is set for an overhaul as Trump nominees await Senate approval.That tone at the top is a tricky thing. So are internal controls and regular audits of expense accounts. Take away opportunity for embezzlement, and we halt the tempted souls. Terminate journalists who accept bribes and stage attacks and remaining reporters are more cautious.