How disgusting and politically corrupt is the Washington Post?  This disgusting and politically corrupt (h/t Ed Morrissey).

WaPo runs this headline, FBI considered a sting aimed at Newt Gingrich in 1997, accompanied by an ominous super-close up of Gingrich:

Sounds pretty bad.  Even if not charged, Newt must have been suspected of wrongdoing by the feds.  Not good for someone running for President.

But read the story, and it turns out that while the feds considered a sting, they ruled it out because there was absolutely no evidence that Newt was engaged in any wrongdoing:

It is a curious case in the annals of the FBI: The bureau considered a sting operation against then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich after sifting through allegations from a notorious arms dealer that a $10 million bribe might get Congress to lift the Iraqi arms embargo.

The FBI ended up calling off the operation in June 1997. It decided there was no evidence that Gingrich knew anything about the conversations the arms dealer was secretly recording with a man who said he was acting on behalf of Gingrich’s then-wife, Marianne, according to people with knowledge of the investigation.

So why run the headline and story?  Here’s WaPo’s explanation:

But details of the case, which became public this week in an article and documents posted online by a nonprofit journalist, show how a series of second- and third-hand conversations alleging that the top man in Congress might be for sale caught the attention of federal investigators.

So what WaPo is saying is that any time false accusations are made to law enforcement those accusations, even when law enforcement dismisses them as baseless, deserve a headline which suggests wrongdoing?

At least when WaPo unfairly went after Rick Perry over the rock last summer, there actually was a rock.  Here, there was nothing at all, just second- and third-hand accusations which the FBI found to be false.

Ironically, the article concludes with a quote from an FBI agent cautioning about ruining the reputation of public figures without factual basis:

“When you’re dealing with elected officials, you have to be real careful,” he said. “Not that they can do anything to us. But their reputations are so fragile, if you don’t really, truly try to do the right thing, you could really shaft somebody.”

Yeah, you really could shaft someone.  Which is what WaPo tried to do with its headline.

WaPo has no shame, it really doesn’t.