I was wondering if it is illegal or legal for a US government official/employee to deny that they work as a US government official/employee, even if they are requested to deny this information(I'm not aware if that part of my original question is a real thing..).

The only reason that I ask this is because it is something that a couple friends and I have always been curious about(which we never got a straight answer from any of our US government law teachers in high school about)..

If this is a law that is in place I would like to know if it is federal or state specific, and if it is state specific, which states have a law involving this subject.

Regards, Cole

1 Answer 1


Cops conduct undercover operations and don't have to tell you they're cops. (Unless maybe they're under oath in a courtroom, for example.)

Mostly because it would be really stupid and impossible to conduct undercover work otherwise. Rumors and popular media about this are wrong.

This is also true for federal agents and actors. (FBI, DEA, ATF, Secret Service, etc...)

  • 1
    And for non-law enforcement, it's likewise normally OK to lie when not committing fraud and not under oath.
    – cpast
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 13:03
  • @cpast - There are a number of people who have served time for violating 18 USC 1001(a) - making a false statement to federal investigators. In Brogan v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court said, "Our legal system provides methods for challenging the Government's right to ask questions - lying is not one of them." It is definitely NOT OK to lie to a federal agent.
    – Dave D
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 14:56
  • And there are other conditions where lying can create civil liability--estoppel, defamation, etc...
    – Tom
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 19:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .