Dateline NBC sent a mole to Defcon, associate producer Michelle Madigan, who had a hidden camera in her purse and was trying to catch attendees committing crimes. She was outed by the conference’s organizer Jeff Moss (aka Dark Tangent) at the annual “Spot The Fed” game, which he temporarily changed to “Spot the Undercover Reporter”. Wired’s Kim Zetter has the full story, complete with photos of Michelle by Dave Bullock.
"Video"NBC Dateline Reporter flees Defcon 15
Update: Wired Threat Level blog has more.
According to DefCon staff, Madigan had told someone she wanted to out an undercover federal agent at DefCon. That person in turn warned DefCon about Madigan's plans. Federal law enforcement agents from FBI, DoD, United States Postal Inspection Service and other agencies regularly attend DefCon to gather intelligence on the latest techniques of hackers. DefCon holds an annual contest called Spot the Fed, in which attendees out people in the audience they think are undercover federal agents. The contest is good-natured, but the feds who get caught are generally ones who don't mind getting caught.
DefCon staff say that Madigan was asked four times -- two times on the phone and two times at the conference -- if she wanted to obtain press credentials, but she declined.