I asked Sirota (who I briefly worked with at another publication) to explain his misreporting. He directed me to his editors. “Our story notes that federal investigators have begun looking into whether the Christie administration improperly disposed of grand jury indictments to protect supporters. It also says the investigation is at an exploratory stage and may not result in charges. These facts are not in dispute.” Which is not, of course, what the story said, but never mind that, I guess.

On Thursday, Matthew Reilly, a spokesman for Paul Fishman, the United States Attorney, said “We talk to a lot of people about a lot of matters, but that does not necessarily mean it’s a criminal investigation.”

By Saturday, that had morphed into a definitive there-is-no-investigation. “Any characterization that we are investigating the governor about this is just not true,” Reilly said. “We talk to people all the time. It doesn’t mean we’re investigating anybody.”

A source close to the Christie administration told me that Christie has not talked to the feds about Barlyn. “It has not happened,” the source said.