Photo: Alex Wong (Getty Images)

Ed Whelan, an ally of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh who floated, then retracted, a conspiracy theory on Twitter accusing another man of sexually assaulting Christine Blasey Ford, allegedly viewed Ford’s LinkedIn profile before her name was made public, Ford says.

The allegation, first reported by The Washington Post, would lend credibility to the suspicion that Whelan’s attempt to discredit Ford may have been coordinated and planned. Whelan, however, said he had not communicated with Kavanaugh or anyone in the White House before publishing his conspiracy theory on Twitter on Thursday.

Whelan, an adviser to Kavanaugh’s confirmation process and president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, later deleted his tweets and apologized.

“I made an appalling and inexcusable mistake of judgment in posting the tweet thread in a way that identified Kavanaugh’s Georgetown Prep classmate. I take full responsibility for that mistake, and I deeply apologize for it. I realize that does not undo the mistake,” he tweeted on Friday.

Before the Post published Ford’s name and full story about allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party in the 1980s when both were in high school, Ford noticed that Whelan “appeared to be seeking information about her,” according to the report.

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The Post notes:

That morning, Ford alerted an associate via email that Whelan had looked at her LinkedIn page, according to the email, which was reviewed by The Post. LinkedIn allows some subscribers to see who views their pages. Ford sent the email about 90 minutes after The Post shared her name with a White House spokesman and hours before her identity was revealed in a story posted on its website.

After reporters from the newspaper contacted the White House for comment on its initial story about Ford’s allegations, deputy White House press secretary Raj Shah contacted several Trump allies to alert them that the bombshell report would be published.

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White House counsel Donald McGahn also made phone calls about the pending report, the Post said.

The newspaper also reported that Kavanaugh had told White House officials and Republicans in Congress that he might push the mistaken identity defense.

“Kavanaugh and his allies have privately discussed mounting a defense that would not question whether an incident involving Ford happened, but instead would raise doubts that the attacker was Kavanaugh,” the Post reported last Thursday.

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Whelan is a former senior staffer to Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, who responded to Ford’s allegations by saying she was “mixed up.”

The Wall Street Journal also floated the mistaken identity theory in an editorial earlier this week.

Last Thursday, Ford said there is “zero chance” she would have confused Kavanaugh with another classmate, whom she also knows.

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Republicans in both the White House and in Congress quickly tried to distance themselves from Whelan’s claims after initially promoting them. The Post story said:

Nevertheless, White House officials and Kavanaugh were caught off guard by the claims Whelan made on Twitter, according to a senior official. Top aides, including McGahn, Shah and Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, were frustrated by his tweets, which they believe did not help Kavanaugh, officials said.

In other words, Whelan’s work was so shoddy not even Republicans would get on board. So, who told Whelan that Christine Blasey Ford was the accuser?