First, ABC News reported:
Federal officials say the Congressional bribery investigation now includes Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, based on information from convicted lobbyists who are now cooperating with the government.
Then, the Department of Justice said:
Speaker Hastert is not under investigation by the Justice Department.
Then, Speaker Hastert’s office said:
The ABC News report is absolutely untrue. As confirmed by the Justice Department, ‘Speaker Hastert is not under investigation by the Justice Department.’ We are demanding a full retraction of the ABC News story.
Then, ABC News said:
Despite a flat denial from the Department of Justice, federal law enforcement sources tonight said ABC News accurately reported that Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is “in the mix” in the FBI investigation of corruption in Congress.
Somebody’s lying. The question is, if it’s the sources for those ABC News stories, will ABC reporter Brian Ross do the honorable thing and disclose their identities. Without such action, there is no incentive against leaking wild, damaging but ultimately baseless rumors from high positions in the government. There is no accountability. When leakers are not punished for disseminating false information, each leak detracts from the public’s knowledge — an unacceptable situation if the justification for such leaks is the public’s right to know.