Special Reports Personal Collection:
Norris Carden's (www.nuzman.com) e-mail collection of Drudge's Special Reports (5/31/1997 - 1/17/2001.)
XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX 19:45:11 PST SUN MAR 15 1998 XXXXX
WHITE HOUSE FIRST LEARNED WILLEY WAS TALKING DURING ONLINE CHAT!
**Must Credit DRUDGE REPORT**
"Anything on Kathleen Willey?" I typed to a ranking White House staffer in
an online chat last summer, "I've got the whole story."
"Not familiar with her," the aide typed back.
An exchange during an online chat that took place on AMERICA ONLINE
Saturday, July 26, 1997 -- hours before this report first introduced Mrs.
Kathleen Willey to the nation in a series of exclusive stories that were
published over the course of several weeks.
What is described here, for the first time, is the reaction by those working
inside of the White House that Saturday afternoon -- the afternoon they learned for
the first time that Willey was talking!
The DRUDGE REPORT first noted on July 4 that NEWSWEEK ace investigative
reporter Michael Isikoff was hot on the trail of "a woman who claims to have
been sexually propositioned by the President on federal property." "...Then
he fondled me," she is known to have told Isikoff, the DRUDGE REPORT
revealed to its readers.
At the time, even though this reporter had been fully briefed on the
identity of the woman, Kathleen Willey was not named in the early reports --
pending further confirmation and investigation. The story remained a
mystery to all but a few.
"Willey. She's the one that has been talking with NEWSWEEK about -- " I
typed to the White House staffer who had instigated a Buddy Chat via an
Instant Message that day.
"About?" typed the aide that has been with Clinton since 1991.
The aide began the chat with a question on rumors the White House was
hearing about a congressman. "Have you heard anything about Cong. Filner
being arrested overseas," the White House staffer asked.
However, the conversation quickly turned to Willey, a name I was preparing
to publish after learning that she had been secretly subpoenaed to give
testimony in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.
"No, Isikoff did not give me the heads-up," I typed. "He thinks I broke
into NEWSWEEK's offices in D.C. and stole the story off of his computer!"
"What's the story?"
"The story is shocking."
"I think I should just leave you with her name. Carville, Begalla, etc.
would freak if they knew that she was out there and that she was talking."
[The chat drifted to internal White House politics. The aide later returned
"What's this Willey thing?" the staffer typed.
"Alright. She claims that she was a part timer who went to BC looking for
more work --"
"Hmmm. Interesting. Are you sure the last name is Willey?"
"Yes," I wrote. "I'm holding off my story on it, because of an urgent
request... but will move very soon."
"Willey just doesn't seem right to me. I've been here for 5 years and I've
never heard the name."
"Willey? Midlothian, VA? ... Her husband committed suicide?" I explained.
"I'll check it out," he typed.
It was at that point that the senior staffer turned wordy, and panicky.
"OK, I'll give you this bit of information. I just asked [Deputy Chief of
Staff John] Podesta about it and he knows what it is and asked me to check
to see if Isikoff was writing for it in tomorrow's magazine. He's not, but
you knew that. You and I did not have this conversation. I just got a lot
of people very riled up around here about this Willey thing. We'll talk
later. Do not mention this conversation. Do not mention this conversation.
If asked, I'll tell people that you had on your web page: "Possible Isikoff
story on Willey" but that it's gone from your page now."
[While the aide was typing this, several hang-up phone calls were received at
the DRUDGE REPORT office in Los Angeles.]
The next day the first Internet exclusive naming Kathleen Willey was released.
White House staffers were so fixated on the story that they logged onto the
Drudge site more than 2,600 times during the first 24 hour period after
Willey was named last July, records showed.
NEWSWEEK's Isikoff named Willey in his magazine 8 days later. [There were
indications at the time that Isikoff was holding the Willey story for a book
that he was planning to write.]
The original DRUDGE REPORT stories on Willey closely mirror what Willey
would later publicly reveal, 7 months later, about her Oval Office encounter
with the president to Ed Bradley on 60 MINUTES.
"Then he kissed me on my mouth and pulled me closer to him," Willey told
Bradley. "And ... I remember thinking -- ... `what in the world is he
doing?' he touched my breasts with his hand ... and he whispered ... 'I've
wanted to do this ever since I laid eyes on you.' And ... then he took my
hand, and he put it on him.
A story that was first whispered to the White House in an online chat has
ended up snowballing into the ultimate political nightmare.
"You've Got Mail!"
Filed by Matt Drudge
The REPORT is moved when circumstances warrant
http://www.drudgereport.com for breaks
(c)DRUDGE REPORT 1998
Not for reproduction without permission of the author