A Convenient Smoke Screen

November 19th, 2004 · 8 Comments
by Booksquare

A month or so ago, we posted about an author who claimed she’d been investigated because certain research triggered Patriot Act alarms. This story came from a trusted source and a trusted publication. This week, we’ve received several pieces of information indicating the author profiled in the article may have been, well, lying. She is certainly being investigated, but for other reasons.

Though we hesitate to say this, but other trusted sources have indicated the author under indictment and the author who made the Patriot Act claims are the same. Booksquare’s trusty investigative journalist, who worked day and night on this story (and is off receiving a well-deserved massage), has found sufficient information to support the rumors we’ve received all week. Unless another author pops out of the woodwork, we believe quite a few people were duped.

We are extremely sad because the Patriot Act has major flaws and needs serious thought rather than rubber-stamp approval when the sunset provisions kick in — hiding your own actions behind the Act serves nobody well. We are also sad because we actually met this woman. She did not tell us her Patriot Act story, but did tell other stories that have been cast into doubt. Sure, you never know the truth about the people you meet; it’s never fun to have this point driven home.

File Under: Square Pegs

8 responses so far ↓

  • Sheryl Nantus // Nov 19, 2004 at 12:52 pm

    at the time that this story came out I was skeptical because of the lack of foreign coverage – heck, CBC/BBC/Al-Jazeera would have loved to have this story up – and now it seems that it was mostly smoke and mirrors.

    sad thing is that if there IS a trangressions as major as she alleged, it’ll probably get lost in the shuffle since she cried Wolf on this one.

    frankly, I hope they toss the book at her. Too many people were taken in by this and it caused a lot of pain on every side of the discussion.

    Thank you for posting this – kudos to your researcher and much, much chocolate!

  • booksquare // Nov 19, 2004 at 7:03 pm

    I suspect the lack of media coverage came more from the fact that the story was published in a trade journal — what coverage I did see was mainly reprinting the article.

    I do hope you’re wrong on one point. I like to think that, even if we’re more skeptical about the issue, we aren’t desensitized. As citizens, we have a responsibility to speak out against injustice.

  • Brenda Coulter // Nov 20, 2004 at 11:55 am

    The lack of media coverage was precisely why I never believed the story. If such an event actually occurred and the victim wanted to warn fellow writers that similar injustices could be perpetrated on them, the RWR was not the place to do that. The RWR has an impressive circulation within the romance/women’s fiction community, but apart from that, who reads our journal? Why didn’t “Dilyn” attempt to warn male writers, mystery writers, and others?

    And before anyone jumps on me and insists that Dilyn might have been afraid to approach any big media outlet, let’s think back a few decades. “Deep Throat” managed to remain anonymous while telling tales that Woodward and Bernstein and their editor were actually able to confirm. THAT was journalism. What was printed in the RWR was an incendiary, uncorroborated tale that we were expected to take on faith just because another romance writer told us to. The story had no place in Stephanie Bond’s “Jungle Beat” column, which, except for this lapse, has been an excellent source of romance industry scuttlebutt.

    If “Dilyn” turns out to be a liar, there could still be some troubling germs of truth in the story she told to Stephanie Bond. But although I’m not in love with the USA PATRIOT Act, before I will believe a wild tale like Dilyn’s, I’m going to have to read about it somewhere besides the Romance Writer’s Report.

  • booksquare // Nov 20, 2004 at 1:12 pm

    Okay, yes, I was looking at this too narrowly. I missed the point Sheryl made — thanks, Brenda for hitting me over the head!

  • LarryE // Nov 21, 2004 at 4:18 am

    The story may well turn out in the end to have been false, but I have to say the comparison to Deep Throat is overheated.

    Deep Throat was a cultivated source within the Executive Branch for an established reporter on a major national newspaper, not an unknown romance writer coming out of the woodwork with a tale of woe.

  • Brenda Coulter // Nov 21, 2004 at 9:40 am

    Give me a break, Larry. ;-) I meant only to illustrate that if an individual is desperate to retain her anonymity, it’s possible for a responsible journalist to sort out the facts while protecting his source. Sheesh.

  • Sheryl Nantus // Nov 22, 2004 at 9:21 am

    it’s still a sad, sad thing to have happen – if there ARE legitimate grievances in the future, people will be eyeing them with a jaded view thanks to this silly woman (the author, not the reporter) screeching at the top of her lungs in hopes of getting some sort of mass demonstration setting her free.

    as for the “reporter” – can’t say much, other than her reputation has suffered one heck of a lot – along with the RWA in general and their newsletter specifically – I’d be seeing heads roll if I were in that organization, fer sure.

    as usual, jmo – ymmv.

  • anon // Dec 26, 2004 at 3:41 pm

    actually journalist now have to reveal sources or face jail time. Legget is just one case of that. i found irony that one week i searched for information on an herb. i was going to use it as a murder method for a mystery i was plotting. the next week the news reports that senators got this specific toxin via the post. needless to say i dropped that plot idea quickly. so yes i do believe writers are being monitored even more so than is known. just my two cents, take it or leave it.