Libel Q related to conspiracy genre fiction

I’ve read a couple other recent threads in the forums on similar topics, but the trademarks in fiction related one was a month old, so I didn’t want to wake up that topic.

I have a similar question however. I recently got the idea for a conspiracy novel in which various government agencies and some supposedly non-governmental ones are engaged in espionage, disappearence, on people within the US as well as abroad.

However as part of the story, real organizations are involved such as the FBI, CIA, and I’m wondering how libel relates to fiction.

I guess one example is X files, and I wonder if they were sued for any of their stories relating to the FBI and DOD.

The greater issue is I plan to have certain organizations which are ostensibly good now be basically turned to the opposite of their current purpose, but these are private non-profit organizations I believe.

For example, the Better Business Bureau serving the interests of corporations spying on us and supressing claims of corporate malfeasance. Or, Alcoholics Anonymous being an arm of the ATF. If this is something that could result in trouble I will simply get rid of the “turned” organizations and either use new ones that are turned or made up ones that are more straightforward without as much surprise deception.

If its bad to have conspiracy stories for both government and private organizations than the story will be largely undoable, so I wanted to find out right away before I get much into it.

X-files remained on air and I’ve never heard of anything happening to them, so that is some comfort, but on the other hand, the Illuminati trilogy has very few references to existing organizations other than the Warren Commission. I think that is interesting as they could have went with a lot more references to government bodies.

If anyone knows about situations with other stories of this type, or tv shows and movies (Enemy of the State for instance) I’d be interested in hearing.

You can’t libel a governmental organization.

You can libel private organizations, but in practice it would be tricky to make a case against you for using the BBB, e.g., in a story. That doesn’t mean that their lawyers couldn’t take a run at you, though. And if it were truly dicey, no large publisher would ever publish it.

Thanks for the info, I think I’ll hold off on really goring real private organizations and stick to current and made up government orgs.

Also, libel involves a misstatement of fact. Since you’re dealing with fiction, it is not really grounds for libel.