WASHINGTON — Atty. Gen. Dick Thornburgh on Sunday denied that he had tried to hide the fact that his chief personal aide had flunked a lie detector test during a sensitive department investigation.
"Absolutely not," Thornburgh said when asked about the allegation of Deputy Atty. Gen. Donald B. Ayer, the department's No. 2 official, who has turned in his resignation, effective on Friday. The charge was reported by The Times on Sunday.
"Mr. Ayer is sadly misinformed about the facts," Thornburgh said.
"There was no evidence that tied any person on my staff to the unauthorized disclosure." Thornburgh was referring to a leak of information during an investigation of alleged financial irregularities in the office of House Majority Whip William H. Gray III of Pennsylvania.
Appearing on ABC's "This Week With David Brinkley," Thornburgh was asked about his former executive assistant, Robert S. (Robin) Ross Jr., who failed a lie detector test in the leak inquiry. Asked whether the failure was not "evidence," Thornburgh responded: "No, it isn't evidence of wrongdoing--not in our courts of law."