It was an editor at Forbes magazine's Web site who first got suspicious.
Adam L. Penenberg, an editor at the Web site, Forbes Digital Tool, read the article by Stephen Glass in last week's issue of The New Republic and was baffled. Penenberg covers cybercrime, hackers and soft-ware pirates and he had never heard of any of the characters or events mentioned in Glass' article, "Hack Heaven," about a teenage hacker who penetrates a computer company's security.After doing considerable research, Penenberg said not one of the facts in the article checked out and he alerted The New Republic's editor, Charles Lane. After conducting his own investigation, Lane dismissed Glass, an associate editor, Friday.
"I'm now satisfied in my own mind that the entire article was completely made up," Lane said.
The New Republic has fact checkers to determine the accuracy of articles. But Glass produced handwritten notes that satisfied them, said Lane, calling the notes fabrications.
"If a man is willing to forge notes, it's kind of hard for fact checking to catch it," Lane said.
Glass, 25, a writer who also has freelance contracts with Rolling Stone and George and has written for Harper's and The Washington Post Outlook section, did not return calls to his parents' home in Chicago Monday, where he had gone over the weekend.
Penenberg said Monday he initially thought he had been scooped "on an incredible story." But when he tried to confirm it, he found that Ian Restil, Jukt Micronics and a National Assembly of Hackers, mentioned in the story - do not exist.
Executives at Rolling Stone, George and Harper's said they were evaluating the situation and whether they would continue working with Glass. They said they had not experienced problems of this kind with Glass' articles.