A former New York Times reporter who won the Pulitzer Prize is disputing the implication made in one of Hillary Clinton's emails released this week that he promised the former secretary of state veto power over a story he ultimately wrote about her in 2009 for Parade.
Leslie Gelb told the Washington Examiner Wednesday that those suggestions are simply untrue.
"The veto claim is baloney. Hillary knew that Parade never ran an attack [piece] in its history," Gelb said. "There was no need for veto power or anything else because it wasn't that kind of piece … it's just a straight account of what she did that day. And Hillary and her people knew it was going to be just that kind of straight (boring) reporting."
Among the nearly 3,000 pages of Clinton correspondences released this week by the State Department is a note written by longtime Clinton ally, Lynn Forester de Rothschild.
In an email to Clinton dated Aug. 26, 2009, Rothschild wrote, "I spent yesterday with Les Gelb on Nantucket. He had lots to say which might be of interest, but I thought the most important thing to tell you is to make sure you are aware of the Parade magazine piece he wants to do about you."
Rothschild's note continued, claiming that Gelb had promised to give Clinton final say on his article.
"He said he would give you a veto over content and looked me in the eye and said, 'she will like it.' Maybe you know this, but did not want it to fall between the cracks. Enjoy your vacation and love to all of you," she wrote.
Her account of their conversation "is an invention," Gelb told the Examiner. "I never would say any such thing."
He said that Rothschild had nothing to do with his story and that it was all set up through "Clinton's people," including State Department spokesman Philippe Reines and Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills.
"The story wasn't done through Rothschild at all. I was just telling her what was going on," he said.
Recalling his conversation with the longtime Clinton ally, Gelb said, "I told about her the piece, but it was pretty well set that I would do the piece because they wanted the cover. The only remaining issues were whether I get to be with [Clinton] all day long and what classified stuff she'd do that I couldn't sit in on."
"And that it would be a whole day. And once we settled on that, I did it," he added.
He called the Examiner's attention to a separate 2009 State Department email which showed that his request for all-day access to the former secretary of state was deemed by some on her team as "picky."
Asked directly whether Rothschild had simply concocted the story mentioned in her email, he answered, "I think so."
Gelb admitted to the Examiner and others, however, that prior to the publication of his article, he provided Clinton's team with a copy of his work so that they could look it over for any errors.
Also, in reference to preparation for his article, he said, "The reason I got [Clinton] to agree to do it was that I told her it would be a cover piece. Her picture would be on the cover."
His 2009 article, tilted "24 Hours With Secretary of State Hillary Clinton," was published on Oct. 25, 2009, by Parade magazine.
On Wednesday, the magazine's editor stressed in a note to the Examiner that it's a non-partisan publication.
"Parade was acquired by Athlon Media Group … in September 2014. While we cannot speak to the policies of prior owners, AMG/Parade does not promise favorable coverage or allow any story subject control of the editorial process," the note read.
Along with his past work with the Times, Gelb has also served in the State Department and the Defense Department. He currently serves as president emeritus for the Council on Foreign Relations.
Reines and Mills did not respond to the Examiner's request for comment.