Speed Reads

Strange Bedfellows?

Sen. Bob Menendez claims Cuba plotted to smear him with fake prostitution story in 2012

A very strange set of false accusations against Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), which emerged late in his 2012 re-election campaign, have now taken an even stranger turn.

The Washington Post reports that Mendendez's attorney asked the Justice Department this past April to investigate evidence, obtained by U.S. intelligence, that the Castro regime in Cuba was responsible for planting a story that the senator had consorted with young or even underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.

Menendez, the son of Cuban immigrants, is a staunch opponent of efforts to normalize trade or other relations with Cuba. At the time of the 2012 election, he was in line to assume the chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which he has since done.

Several days before the election, the conservative news site The Daily Caller published an article containing allegations of prostitution by two women who appeared to be of legal age, which briefly caused a huge stir among right-leaning media outlets. Menendez easily won re-election, with 59 percent of the vote.

In the months to come, though, a total of three Dominican women then recanted their statements, saying that they had in fact been paid by someone else to make the claims.

The Daily Caller's editor-in-chief Tucker Carlson was surprised at the possibility that his reporters might have unwittingly been the funnel for a Cuban propaganda operation. "I really can't assess it without more information," Carlson told The Post. "It's bizarre on its face, but also fascinating."