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The Clintons v. Halper, Round One

7:32 AM, Jul 14, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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In a new report on a bizarre email sent to dozens of reporters over the weekend, the Daily Beast's Lloyd Grove explores "The Strange Leak of the New Expose 'Clinton, Inc.'"

Grove reports that "a prolific but mysterious rogue distributor...somehow got a copy of Halper’s book and blasted out a series of mass-media emails containing PDFs—or portable document formats—of the entire 317-page, 12-chapter volume that was officially under wraps until the designated publication date, July 22." (The book is available on Amazon here.)

Grove continues:

On Saturday night, emails from someone who identified himself, unusually, as Robert Josef Wright—a name not immediately accessible on Google or other commonly used databases—began blasting to more than 100 prominent and less prominent print and online journalists and television anchors, occasionally using their personal addresses. Among the copied recipients were NBC News President Deborah Turness; The Washington Post’s media reporter, Paul Farhi; CNN’s Jake Tapper; New York magazine’s Joe Hagan; and Fox & Friends cohost Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

“Here is a book I bought today that you all must read. Its [sic] coming in several emails so it doesn’t spam you,” Wright—or, rather, “Wright”—wrote in his initial email. “Someone has exposed The Royal Clinton’s [sic]. King Smarmy Bill, Queen Smug Chilary, and Princess Spolied Chlesea [sic]. I don’t know David Halper or his other books. But he obviously knows people who have been dying to tell the truth and finally have.

“Will you take it seriously or will the liberal press coronate the Clintons by attacking the messenger.

“More chunks to come soon.”

The email was signed: RJW/ Spreading The “Wright” Message 

Grove quotes one "publishing source, who asked not to be named," explaining that "Wright’s online identity as a Clinton-hating wingnut with sloppy spelling and grammar issues is also cause for suspicion."

“The working theory of who it might be is somebody who wants to come across as a conservative, but in a way it seems like they’re trying too hard,” this source said. “So it might be somebody who’s not a conservative. They have an excellent, sophisticated media list, including people who are not commonly known, so this is somebody with some Washington-New York media savvy. The most likely suspect would be someone affiliated with the Clintons.”

That, of course, is pure speculation, unsupported by evidence. The Daily Beast’s emails requesting comment from spokespeople for former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received no response. But various Clinton loyalists were apparently more than curious about Halper’s research and reporting process as the book project was under way; Halper writes that an assistant to longtime Clinton political guru James Carville asked for the names of interviewees and a detailed description of the scope of the book—questions the author dodged."

Grove gives us a taste of Halper's new book: "Unlike scandal-monger Ed Klein’s fantastical No. 1 best-selling narrative about the supposed Blood Feud between the Clintons and the Obamas, Halper’s study is juicy and gossipy, yet scrupulously researched, drawing on numerous on-the-record conversations (as well as many not-for-attribution interviews) with prominent Democrats and Clinton insiders, past and present."

I suspect we haven't heard the last of this mysterious leak from the presumably non-existent Mr. Wright.

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