I think my
attempt at subtlety in my last post
left me a bit misunderstood. So let me try to clarify.
I'm still trying to sort out what I think of the in-house lie detector test that Abbe Lowell arranged for his client Gary Condit. Opinion on that point seems to have evolved pretty quickly, even over the half-dozen hours or so since Lowell's press conference.
But for the moment let's take the answers to these three questions wholly at face value and assume their veracity. If you boil down the three questions they asked of Condit they basically come down to this: a) were you involved in, or did you cause, Levy's disappearance? and b) do you know the current whereabouts of her or her remains?
Those two questions leave some pretty obvious questions unasked. Like, Do you know what happened to Chandra? Do you know who harmed her / is responsible for her disappearance?
In any case, for now, suffice it to say that even if you completely buy that this was a legit test, it leaves a pretty big and obvious question unanswered, especially because it's not too difficult to speculate about who some potential other suspects might be.
Now, on to other matters.
There seems to be some anti-Talking Points mojo in the air tonight because I'm being called on the carpet by fellow me-ziners Mickey Kaus and Andrew Sullivan -- for two entirely different things. Kaus says I'm going soft because I criticized the Washington Post's story on Condit's alleged affair with the then-18 year old woman from back home in Modesto. Sullivan is on my case or, perhaps better to say, putting me on the spot for not providing the name of the ABC News reporter discussed in this article I wrote yesterday in Salon. I'm going to come back to the matter of the unnamed reporter. But first let's deal with Kaus.
I went back and read the July 12th Washington Post article about the minister and his daughter and I think I was in part wrong to question its relevance. Now this will get kind of complicated so bear with me (it's also four o'clock in the morning so incoherence is a real possibility as well).
My initial concern was the combination of how distant this affair seemed from anything to do with the Levy case and the fact that the alleged paramour herself denied the affair took place. Hardly a small matter. The combination, I thought, made it not ready to publish.
However, what's really key is not the relationship itself but Susan Levy's alleged phone call in mid-April confronting Chandra with news of the earlier relationship, and Chandra's alleged subsequent discussion of that relationship with Condit. This chain of events seems quite relevant to what was happening in Chandra's life in the last two weeks before her disappearance -- even if you allow the possibility that the other affair didn't happen. For the purposes of understanding what was up with Chandra, what matters is that she and her mother believed it was true and that she discussed it with Condit.
This is all a roundabout way of saying that I think I was at least partly incorrect on the question of relevance -- though I still have misgivings about the fact that they went with the story while the woman herself denied that the affair had even taken place. Perhaps it would have been better to front the combustible conversations between Susan and Chandra Levy, and Chandra and Condit, rather than the alleged affair itself. Though this probably wouldn't have made for such a charged headline. Make sense? I'll get to Sullivan's very legitimate point (and challenge) tomorrow.