Starr Goes Postal

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WASHINGTON: Gentlemen, start your attorneys. Whitewater prosecutor Ken Starr has posted his most savage attack yet on Brill's Content editor Steven Brill, who claims the independent counsel admitted to leaking sensitive Lewinsky information. "Your reckless and irresponsible attack borders on the libellous," writes Starr. This is no mere letter to the editor: Weighing in at a whopping 19 pages, Starr's retort looks and feels like like a legal brief. "Methinks," said an anonymous White House aide, "he doth protest too much."

Special Report Indeed he doth. This is Starr's third response in four days to the Brill article. Not only that, it ignores Judge Norma Holloway Johnson's personal injunction to lawyers in the Lewinsky case Tuesday against excessive communication with journalists. Starr tosses that warning aside in the letter: "The idea that we should never talk to reporters... is wrong," he writes. "It would be a disservice to the public." Johnson will not be happy.

And if the independent counsel wants to help promote the magazine, he's doing a great job by sending his letter on the same day the inaugural issue hits the newsstands. Brill himself, meanwhile, knows how to drag the story out to his best advantage. He's promised to reprint the 19-page letter in full -- in the second issue.