Should we be surprised to learn that the Democratic attack on the White House for leaking the story of the Follies Berger is another lie? James Taranto collects the evidence in his Best of the Web Today column:
On Wednesday National Review’s Jonah Goldberg fingers one suspect, Lanny Davis, a former special counsel to President Clinton:
The fellow who broke the Berger story was John Solomon [of the Associated Press]. And According to Davis, Solomon was “the most fair” reporter he knew because Solomon was willing to take so many items from Davis.
Goldberg quotes an April 12, 1999, article by the Washington Post’s media reporter, Howard Kurtz:
In “Truth to Tell,” [a book] out next month, Davis argues for “good,” factually based spin over “bad,” deceptive spin–but concedes that some of his spin was “so transparent that it is amazing that we thought we could get away with it.” . . .
Davis called the reporter he deemed most fair, the AP’s John Solomon, with documents suggesting that Clinton had made fund-raising calls from the White House residence. The leak occurred on July 3, 1997, so the story would get lost on the Fourth of July holiday.
Yesterday Davis appeared on Linda Chavez’s radio program, and a caller named David asked him if he was the Berger leaker. He evaded the question [go to BOTW for a link to an audio clip]:
David: National Review is insinuating that the whole hoopla about who leaked this to the AP reporter could be settled by posing the question to Mr. Davis. They’ve suggested that since he cites the same reporter in his book and his articles about public relations . . .
Chavez: I think we’re getting a response, David.
David: . . . that he may be the one that may have leaked this, since this is his favorite reporter.
Chavez: . . . Lanny Davis, did you leak this?
Davis: Well first off, thank you caller for asking me that. I’ve heard about that. The caller is absolutely correct; I wrote a chapter in my book about one of the great reporters who covered the White House, John Solomon of the Associated Press. I always get him into trouble by saying he’s a great reporter, because people think he treated us with a soft touch. In fact [he] killed us almost all the time. But I’m afraid that if I asked John Solomon “Who leaked it to you?” he would give me the same answer that he’s always given me when I ask that question, which is, “None of your business.”
Chavez: Well, OK, Lanny, but David was asking you; he wasn’t asking John Solomon: Did you leak this information to John Solomon in order to get the bad news out first?
Davis: Oh, did I? (laughter) Well, let me put it this way: Had I been asked last October by my old friend Sandy Berger, who is a great man, an honest man, and has done something that he sincerely regrets–I would have suggested to Sandy that we call John Solomon and that he sit down with John Solomon and tell him the whole story and get the story out last October. Because sure as the sun rises in the east, Linda, there were enough people who knew about this that this particular week out of 52 weeks in 2004 is not surprising as the week that somebody chose to leak the story.
Davis’s evasion doesn’t necessarily mean he was the leaker, but it’s certainly curious.
Taranto to the contrary notwithstanding, it’s not curious at all; it’s the famous Lanny non-denial denial, a dead giveaway. On the scale of epistemological certitude from 1 to 10, I’m rating this one a 10.
UPDATE: Joshua Sharf of View from a Height writes: “On Sean Hannity, Lanny Davis just categorically denied leaking the story to John Solomon.”