FBI counters rumors, says Palin isn't under investigation

RUMORS WRONG: Agent rebuts circulating allegations cited by Anchorage blogger.

July 5, 2009 

The FBI is taking the unusual step of declaring that Gov. Sarah Palin is not under investigation, as Palin herself left for Western Alaska and communicated to the world through her Twitter account.

"We are not investigating her," FBI spokesman Eric Gonzalez said on Sunday. "Normally we don't confirm or deny those kind of allegations out there, but by not doing so it just casts her in a very bad light. There is just no truth to those rumors out there in the blogosphere."

Palin has ignored requests for an interview since she abruptly announced Friday that she will be resigning as governor after two and a half years in office. She's used her Facebook page and Twitter account to speak for her and declare that she'll defend herself against attacks as she leaves office.

"Critics are spinning, so hang in there as they feed false info on the right decision made as I enter last yr in office to not run again," she said Sunday via the Internet social media Twitter. "So I'll make attempt to keep up w/attaching corrected info."

Palin "tweeted" that she would be going to two "West AK" villages on Sunday and indicated she'd soon be joining her family for a day of fishing at its commercial setnet site on the Nushagak River in Bristol Bay. That was the best indication of her whereabouts, as neither Palin's personal nor state spokeswomen responded to requests for comment. She remains the governor until July 26.

There's been raging national speculation about why she is resigning. Palin, in her Friday speech announcing it, cited frustration over all the ethics complaints filed against her. She said she didn't want to be a "lame duck" with no plans to run for re-election, and intended to take on an unspecified new role advancing the values she supports.

Palin's personal attorney, Thomas Von Flein, on Saturday denounced rumors that Palin resigned because she is under criminal investigation, and threatened legal action against anyone publishing such "defamatory" material about the governor. Van Flein specifically targeted Shannyn Moore, a blogger and radio talk show host in Anchorage.

Moore fired back on Sunday by calling a press conference in front of the governor's downtown Anchorage office and calling Palin "a coward and a bully." Moore said she only pointed out that rumors existed -- and she never claimed them to be fact.

"What kind of politician attacks an ordinary American on the Fourth of July for speaking her mind? What's wrong with her? The first amendment was designed to protect people like me from people like her. Our American revolution got rid of kings. And it got rid of queens, as well. Am I annoyed? You betcha," Moore said.

She said that "Shannyn Moore will not be muzzled."

Van Flein responded Sunday that it is not about muzzling. Palin is entitled to respond to lies, he said.

"The Constitution allows anyone to print what they want, but it does not say you can do so with impunity and with a total disassociation from reality ... to be blunt: falsely implying that the governor, or her husband, are under federal investigation, is not free speech, " Van Flein said.

Such rumors were common on the Internet last fall when Palin was running for vice president, and they have surfaced on many Web sites in recent days. Moore apparently got Palin's attention when she spoke about it on the national television network MSNBC on Friday, the day Palin announced she would resign in three weeks.

"There is a scandal rumor here that there is a criminal investigation into some activities and that's been rumored for about, I don't know, probably six weeks or two months," Moore said on MSNBC, later commenting that Palin looked nervous and she believed the governor was doing damage control for news that would come out.

Van Flein on Sunday also highlighted a message Moore sent Friday on her own Twitter account, saying "yes, I know the nature of the scandal. Timing, baby timing." He said Moore has been cited as a source for reporting of a possible federal indictment. (The national "Brad Blog" quoted Moore as saying Palin resigned because a scandal was about to break. Moore said she was misquoted and can't control other blogs.)

Moore said the governor's sudden resignation didn't make sense and has Alaskans wondering what is really going on. She said Palin had a "massive overreaction" to her comments.

"I think it's great that the FBI has come out and said the rumor isn't true. ... But the fact, that I reported, that there was a rumor, is true. There was a rumor and she dispelled the rumor and that's great," Moore said.

Palin's reaction came Sunday via her Twitter account, which limits all messages to 140 characters.

"Trying to keep up w/getting truth to u, like proof there's no 'FBI scandal'," the governor tweeted.

Anchorage Daily News is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service