Were Cuban spies responsible for a sex smear of Sen. Robert Menendez?

WashPo reports espionage behind campaign

WASHINGTON, D.C. - You may recall that back in November 2012, a right-wing semi-news site, the Daily Caller, tried and failed to tie New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to a sex scandal. 

The Daily Caller reported that two anonymous Dominican women claimed in a video that Menendez had paid them for sex. The women later recanted and said they had been paid to lie about the senator

Fast forward and the story really gets juicy. 

The Washington Post has reported that the CIA has evidence that Cuban spies concocted the whole smear job. Menendez is a big critic of the Castro regime.

The Post reports:

“According to a former U.S. official with firsthand knowledge of government intelligence, the CIA had obtained credible evidence, including Internet protocol addresses, linking Cuban agents to the prostitution claims and to efforts to plant the story in U.S. and Latin American media.

The alleged Cuba connection was laid out in an intelligence report provided last year to U.S. government officials and sent by secure cable to the FBI’s counterintelligence division, according to the former official and a second person with close ties to Menendez who had been briefed on the matter.

The intelligence information indicated that operatives from Cuba’s Directorate of Intelligence helped create a fake tipster using the name “Pete Williams,” according to the former official. The tipster told FBI agents and others he had information about Menendez participating in poolside sex parties with underage prostitutes while vacationing at the Dominican Republic home of Salomon Melgen, a wealthy eye doctor, donor and friend of the senator.”

Tipster “Pete Williams” also approached a Washington watchdog group, which passed the tip to ABC News. ABC checked out the allegations, dismissed them and spiked the non-story.  The Daily Caller went ahead and published them. The FBI, according to the Post, checked out the allegations thoroughly and also came up empty.

The Post’s media critic, Erik Wemple, points out the Daily Caller never retracted its story or apologized. The author of the original Daily Caller, Matthew Boyle, now at Breitbart.com, gave Wemple a “no comment” this week.

The idea of a conservative e-pamphlet being a dupe in a Cuban spy operation is delicious and amusing, except to Menendez. Perhaps now the Daily Caller will consider making a correction, assuming an apology is out of the question.

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