By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
"We didn't formally open an official file on Mr. Ling," Stevens says. "Agent Moore ran the facts by me, and the statute dictated what we did. We just didn't have grounds to pursue a criminal prosecution. My suggestion was to tell the guy to cut it out and that if we come up with more, we'll pursue it."
David Moore says he later met with Ling and with Ling's attorney, though he declines to discuss specifics.
"He's an attorney, and he's obviously practiced at talking to people," the agent says, referring to Ling. "But I would say it was a productive meeting."
New Times first contacted Andy Ling just before Christmas 1994. The questions put to him were limited to his alleged musical exploits.
One question: Have you played music and recorded with Pat Metheny, Michael Brecker and other jazz bigwigs?
"Most of what I did with those guys was eight or nine years ago," he said then, "though I did a casual recording in Oslo, Norway, about four years ago with Michael."
His relationship with Brecker and the gang began in the early 1980s, Ling said in the first conversation.
"Chick Corea introduced me to Michael Brecker back in '84," Ling said then, "and it went from there. What an honor!"
But after the first interview with Ling, New Times contacted representatives of Michael Brecker and Pat Metheny.
Michelle Craig of Metheny's management firm said the guitarist "has absolutely no memory of playing or recording with an Andrew Ling, ever. It didn't happen."
Peter McCallum, manager's assistant for Michael Brecker, said from New York City that the saxophonist "has no recollection of anyone named Andy Ling."
Ling had varying responses when confronted with this information in his second New Times interview, conducted last week.
"Remember when we spoke about your recordings with Pat Metheny and Mike Brecker?" Ling was asked.
"You mean my desire to record with them," Ling immediately responded.
"No, your recordings with those men."
"There must be some kind of misunderstanding. I'm sorry. I said I would like to record with them, and I'd like to take a year off to do that. I've met Michael a few times, that's all. If I saw him, he'd probably recognize me."
New Times then read to Ling from the transcript of the first interview, which was tape-recorded.
"I'm sorry I gave you that misinformation," Ling replied, not missing a beat. "I meant to say that I would like to play with them someday and it's always been a personal goal of mine."
Ling also responded to the subject of his elaborate "liner notes."
"I prepared a tape for a friend that exemplified what I would like to put together someday," he said, "what it would be like if I had the chance to record with these guys, because this friend wanted to be introduced to jazz. We all have our dreams that we try to express in different ways."
Ling also tried to downplay the brouhaha with the Secret Service.
"What happened was basically a rumor that surfaced," he said. "When I work out, I usually wear a Secret Service tee shirt. I've worn it quite a bit. Some rumor started in the gym that I was in the agency. So what I did was to meet directly with the agency, and I cleared it up. It's a rumor that got blown way out of proportion. It's a small town."
Ling repeated three times that he's never told anyone he's ever been in the Secret Service.
"There's no reason for me to do that," he said.
Ling was eager to talk about a documentary he has been working on with a high school buddy named Townley Paton.
"I'm the executive producer," Ling said proudly, "and it falls under the theme of leadership and statesmanship, with the purpose of inspiring younger generations to enter public service."
Ling had mentioned the James Baker project in the first New Times interview. Then, he'd compared the documentary with his musical projects.
"The secretary of state bestowed the honor upon my buddy and I to do the documentary," Ling had intoned in December, "just like Michael [Brecker] and the guys gave me the honor to do something with them."
Ling insisted that the Baker project, titled James A. Baker III--A Statesman's Story, is the real deal.
"It is, honestly," he said.
This time Andy Ling is telling the truth.
A Washington, D.C., spokeswoman for James Baker says, "Secretary Baker is aware of Andrew Ling and is cooperating."
Ling's collaborator, San Francisco videographer Townley Paton, says he and Ling devised the idea for a documentary during a high school class reunion--at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts--five years ago.
"This has been the most important thing in my life," Paton says, expressing dismay that Ling's unmasking may impede the project's completion. "I mean, Andy has not given me any indication of any of this stuff. This is very bizarre.