The Church of Scientology has disseminated a detailed response to Andrew Morton's unauthorized biography of Tom Cruise, the Hollywood star and, according to Morton, the sect's number two in all but name. Let's look at the Scientologists' strongest contention. "For the last two years, the Church of Scientology requested to be interviewed or be presented with any allegations so we could respond. Morton refused despite our insistence in offering our cooperation. At no time did he request interviews nor did he attempt to get any information from us." True?

No. For instance, on page 154 of Morton's book, the writer addresses the rumor that devoted Scientologists had planted a field of wildflowers for Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman to run through. He cites a flat denial from Mike Rindler, head of Scientology International's Office of Special Affairs. In an email to Gawker, Morton also points to statements Karin Pouw, the Scientology spokeswoman, has made to the press.

The reason why Karin Pouw is able to quote from conversations with me is that I spoke to her. I didn't call to pass the time of day but to formally ask for an interview with David Miscavige, the head of SCN. The legal and editorial departments at St Martins Press were all aware of the phone calls I made to reach Karin Pouw and the request I made. It was not surprisingly turned down. FYI Miscavige has given to my knowledge one print interview to the St Petersburg Times and one TV interview during his 20-year tenure as COB Scientology.

Morton may not have expected an interview from Miscavige, the Church's leader. And he might not have expected much, beyond blanket denials, from any interview. But he does appear to have made at least a show of giving the Scientologists their say, which will provide some protection in any lawsuit.