FBI has not been in contact with Menendez, sources say
U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez By Darryl R. Isherwood | February 4th, 2013 - 9:05pm
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Agents from the FBI have had no contact with U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez to date despite reports that there is an active investigation that involves him, two sources close to the senator said tonight.

Reports surfaced last week that the FBI has been investigating Menendez since August over alleged solicitation of underage prostitutes while traveling in the Dominican Republic, but the sources said no agents have questioned the senator.

 The reports cited emails from a Miami-based FBI agent to a tipster known as "Peter Williams" in which the agent said he was investigating claims from Williams that Menendez and a friend had sex with prostitutes, some of them under 18, while in the Dominican Republic.

In the email exchange, the agent tells Williams that the agency has been able to substantiate some of the claims made by the tipster, but does not say which ones.  The emails show the agent continually attempting to speak to Williams either in person or by phone and being rebuffed each time.

The chain appears to end in December when the agent tries again to meet with Williams, to no avail.  The allegations gathered stream last week when the Miami Herald reported that the office of Salomon Melgen - the friend accused of arranging the prostitutes for Menendez - was raided by the FBI.

The Herald first reported that the raid appeared to be connected to the accusations involving Menendez, but an attorney for Melgen later said it appeared to be unrelated. 

Menendez has denied the allegations, but has been largely silent since. Today, he spoke to CNN, again denying the allegations that he had engaged with any hookers, never mind underage ones.

"The smears that right-wing blogs have been pushing since the election - and that is totally unsubstantiated and it's amazing to me that anonymous, nameless, faceless individuals on a web site can drive that type of story into the mainstream," he told CNN during an impromptu interview in Washington.

"But that's what they've done successfully. Now nobody can find them. No one ever met them. No one ever talked to them but that's where we're at," he added.

On Friday, the New York Times reported that Menendez had urged two federal agencies to intervene on a port security contract held by Melgen with the Dominican government.

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"Governor Christie ripped President Obama this summer for failing to carve out some time during a Texas fundraising swing to visit the Mexican border, where the unprecedented flood of immigrant children from Central America had reached a crisis point. ...Yet Christie is not squeezing in a tour of the troubled border during his own three-day trade and diplomatic mission to Mexico, which is set to begin on Wednesday. The governor is planning a series of meetings with Mexican officials, including President Enrique Peña Nieto and the finance and energy ministers." - columnist Charles Stile

- The Bergen Record

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