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An Exhibition of Conservative Paranoia

Exhibit 9: Making An Enemies List, Checking It Twice

In which we ask Larry Klayman why he's harrassing a pair of authors who discredited right-wing attacks on President Clinton.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 11/27/2000

On Nov. 15, Judicial Watch announced that it plans to "closely monitor the alleged “shady” connections" of Joe Conason and Gene Lyons, authors of the book "The Hunting of the President," which detailed Republican tactics used against President and Hillary Clinton.

A press release alleges Conason and Lyons "apparently are planning a campaign to destroy conservatives on behalf of operatives of the Clinton-Gore White House. With Hillary Clinton’s victory in New York, it is now apparent that she and her husband, Bill Clinton, intend to make a run for the presidency in 2004, with Mrs. Clinton as President and Mr. Clinton as 'first gentleman.'"

Judicial Watch, of course, provides no actual evidence in the press release of such a campaign.

In an attempt to clear up some of the issues surrounding these assertions, I sent the following e-mail to Judicial Watch chairman Larry Klayman:

    Mr. Klayman:

    I read your recent press release regarding Judicial Watch's plan to "closely monitor" Joe Conason and Gene Lyons. I had a few questions regarding your statement:

    -- In the headline of the press release, you put the word “authors” in quote marks. Are you implying that Lyons and Conason did not write their book "The Hunting Of The President”? Or are you implying that their book does not meet the standards of nonfiction literature, despite the fact that no one has yet stepped forward and prove any serious factual error in the book since it was published almost a year ago?

    -- What evidence do you have that Lyons and Conason "apparently are planning a campaign to destroy conservatives on behalf of operatives of the Clinton-Gore White House"? If so, how do you expect such a "campaign" to occur? Do you have any evidence that Lyons and Conason have any direct link to "operatives of the Clinton-Gore White House"?

    -- You accuse Conason and Lyons of "alleged 'shady' connections." What is the definition of "shady" in this context? Who accused their "alleged connections" of being "shady"? Is any connection with "operatives of the Clinton-Gore White House" a "shady" connection in your understanding of the term?

    -- You are quoted in the press release as saying, "Judicial Watch will not stand by and watch more smear campaigns unfold." Please explain why your press release about Lyons and Conason is not a "smear campaign" when you provide no actual evidence for your claims against them.

    -- Given that your statement certainly has the appearance, if not the intent, of intimidation and harrassment, how does this compare to your recent statement in the Washington Post saying any attempt by Sidney Blumenthal to question you in his libel lawsuit against Matt Drudge "would be harassment, and I would ask for appropriate court remedies"?

    I will be looking forward to your reply.

Well, it's been a couple of weeks now, and there has been no reply. I don't think I'll be seeing one, either. After all, it's so much easier to accuse and smear than to provide actual evidence.

My diagnosis: Set the Nixon memoirs aside, Larry.

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