This morning I noted that a 2008 Financial Times story led to an SEC investigation of credit-ratings firm Moody’s. I also noted that Moody’s told McClatchy that an external investigation had “disproved” the paper’s story, or at least its “allegation,” and that I asked the FT to comment.

An FT spokeswoman says the paper stands by its story, and Alphaville editor Paul Murphy called to give some background on the piece:

What I think is happening here is that you have Moody’s denying things that we didn’t allege. We reported at the time that there was an error in the computer coding that affected the ratings of these CPDOs. Moody’s admitted that after we published. We did report at the time that Moody’s knew about this error for a long time and that it didn’t disclose this to investors in the CPDOs. We also reported that Moody’s changed its actual rating methodology in the wake of discovering this error and it didn’t explain this…

We were very careful not to allege that Moody’s had covered it up. It was a very sensitive time—right in the middle of the crisis.

That sounds right. It seems to me that the FT reported out facts about Moody’s actions, and Moody’s hasn’t disputed the facts (I have a request for comment out to the company), which Murphy condensed in our conversation:

We reported at the time that there was an error in the computer coding that affected the ratings of these CPDOs. Moody’s admitted that after we published. We did report at the time that Moody’s knew about this error for a long time and that it didn’t disclose this to investors in the CPDOs. We also reported that Moody’s changed its actual rating methodology in the wake of discovering this error and it didn’t explain this…

What we never said is that Moody’s took some sort of steps to cover this up.

Readers like me could use these facts to conclude what Moody’s was up to there, but the FT didn’t spell it out—although Moody’s itself did in its quote in the original story denying that it “masked” anything.

Further, this was a deeply reported story, according to Murphy, who says the Alphaville reporter got to know a Moody’s whistleblower at Moody’s and “spent about three months with that whistleblower working very, very carefully, with a lot of detail.”

And it look for all the world like the SEC agrees with the FT, not Moody’s.

So again, applaud the paper for uncovering this story.

And more press scrutiny of the ratings firms, please.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.