Lars Larson, the Portland conservative talk-radio host who made national news yesterday by naming the White House official who filed a whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump, says he had no idea of the reaction his move would generate.
"I thought it was no big deal," Larson says. "The name had been out there for a week."
Larson named the whistleblower in an interview on Fox News, where he appears regularly. He says he was unaware that Fox had issued an internal memo cautioning hosts not to name the whistleblower without independent confirmation of the person's identity (he would have have seen the memo because he's not a paid contributor.)
Larson also acknowledges he does not have independent confirmation of the person's identity.
"It's been in the president's son's Twitter feed and on the Drudge Report," Larson says. "I don't know it's him. I have every reason to believe it's him. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong."
Larson adds that neither he nor any member of the media has any obligation to keep the whistleblower's name confidential. In fact, he says, the opposite is true. "I got into the news business to tell people information, not to withhold it," he says.
As for why the public should know the name of the whistleblower, Larson says he believes the man he named leveled an extremely serious accusation—that Trump used U.S. foreign policy for personal political gain—and therefore it's important that people know as much as possible about his background and potential motivations.
"This guy is making a serious charge," Larson says, " and I believe his complaint is false."
The substance of whistleblower's complaint has been corroborated by multiple witnesses, including a White House aide and U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland.
Larson is a staunch Trump supporter. He hosts two daily radio shows from his offices at Portland's KXL-FM: one airs on regional stations, and the other is nationally syndicated. (WW reporters regularly appear on Larson's Pacific Northwest show to discuss their stories.)
Larson says although his phone has rung non-stop since his conversation with Fox host Harris Faulkner, Fox management has not said anything to him.
And even though he didn't realize he was going to be the first to out the whistleblower, he'd do the same thing again. "No regrets," Larson says.