Rep. Mike Rogers' Staff Insists They Never Said I Defamed Him... And Then Reveal The Reporter They Apparently Never Said It To

from the um... dept

I'm beginning to wonder if Representative Mike Rogers needs slightly more competent staffers (note to my new friends in Mike Rogers' office: that is a statement of opinion). As you may recall, earlier this week, I wrote about how a reporter had told me that, when he questioned Rogers' staff about certain comments I had made concerning Rogers' views and actions on cybersecurity and internet surveillance, they had claimed that my comments were defamatory and that they "could" sue me for them. That got a little bit of attention, because, you know, when a former FBI agent, now elected Congressman, who's in charge of the House Intelligence Committee, makes an implied threat designed to intimidate a critic... that's really not a very good thing.

The folks over at The Daily Dot followed up on the story, and asked Rogers' staff to comment on the situation, and got back something rather incredible:
Kelsey Knight, a spokesperson for Rogers, denied that anyone on the congressman's staff made such comments.

"Nobody made this claim," Knight told the Daily Dot.

Knight went on to identify the reporter the comments were supposedly made to, Christopher Behnan of the Livingston Daily. Behnan would not comment on this story, but referred the Daily Dot to Rogers' chief of staff, Andrew Hawkins. The Daily Dot reached out to Rogers' office for a direct comment from Hawkins, but had not received a response as of late Thursday afternoon.
It's important to note that, throughout this process, I never once named Behnan or his publication. I didn't even mention to my own colleagues who the reporter was. So... Rogers staff did not claim that my comments were defamatory to Behnan... but they magically know that Behnan is the reporter they didn't make the claim to? How does that work?

Filed Under: defamation, mike rogers

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Aug 2013 @ 4:01am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think most representatives have staffers that are at least aware of Techdirt since the talkingpoints are very different from mainstream politics and politicians use an unproportionate amount of time preparing for questions they may be asked about subjects they are involved in.

    I think the problem could be the journalist too since communication is a nimble subject where even missing a single word can change the meaning completely. I do not doubt the journalist has heard these things:

    "They felt I was "an extreme liberal" and that I was using "liberal" talking points to attack him."

    That is the standard defence from a conservative. "They all be commies!" etc. Distancing Mike from conservative values is probably a way to try to quell some of the conservatives internal discussion on the subject.

    I think the staffer may have said that some of Mikes statements might be of defamating character. It would be unbelievably stupid to threaten to sue or even mention the word.

    Politician gods and their disciples are religiously holding on to a far outdated reality so I would not put it past a staffer feeling hurt by the statements about his/her god that the feeling of blasphemy might have gotten the better of the person.

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