Judge Silberman’s response to David Brock’s book
August 18, 2006
Judge Laurence Silberman, whom I admired long before I met him, has told me that he was perturbed to find, as a latecomer to Google, that charges against him made in certain passages of David Brock’s book Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative had wide circulation in the search engine, while Robert Novak’s column rebutting Brock has vanished. He provided me with his own account, as follows:
David Brock’s book, Blinded by the Right, published in 2002, made a number of statements about me (and my wife) that were quite false. I was first asked by journalists about his descriptions of my alleged views and conversations with him in 2004 when I was named to the President’s Intelligence Commission, I responded that those accounts were fictional. When his book first appeared, no reviewer ever approached me. Although the mainstream press has largely ignored Brock’s charges, I see that references to Brock’s book appear at various blogs on the Internet, so I thought it appropriate to respond more fully in the same medium for a permanent record.
At the outset I would make two general points. Brock claimed that this book initially stood largely unrebutted- and therefore his credibility was enhanced. I have noted that reviewers did not call me or a number of other persons quoted in the book for their response. Moreover, the first edition of the book rather cleverly and deceptively did not include an index so that Brock’s targets would have had to buy the book and read all through it to find references to them. Very
few were willing to buy the book. As far as I know, everyone who has been asked about passages that relate to them, including Ted Olson and my wife, have described them as false.
The second general point I wish to make is that Brock, who was a journalist, purports to describe the private views of a number of persons without disclosing his source. If those views had been conveyed to Brock, they obviously would have been confidential and off the record. But since most are fictional, I suppose one can’t complain concerning those accounts about the lesser journalistic ethical violation of betraying confidential sources. The book does, however, contain one truthful account of information I gave Brock in which I remember specifically telling him it was off the record. In my forty years in Washington, this was the first occasion in which a journalist betrayed such a confidence. In explaining his break with his conservative friends, Brock makes much of being disinvited from an Olson party after his Hillary Clinton book was published, and attributed that treatment to his relatively favorable description of Hillary Clinton. This is false. Barbara Olson was furious at Brock because she asserted that he had burned confidential sources in the book. When evaluating Brock’s credibility, one should keep his lack of journalistic ethics in mind.