Who is "Peter Williams"?

Sunday, February 3, 2013
This is the one question that investigative journalists seem to be -- intentionally or not -- ignoring.

There is an anonymous tipster who calls himself "Peter Williams", who has made a number of unsubstantiated allegations against U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), which he claims date back to 2008.

Yet, "Mr. Williams" waited until Senator Menendez was up for re-election in 2012, and was set to become Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in order to "reveal" them to a partisan blog and to a Congressional watchdog group with a history of attacking critics of the Cuban dictatorship.

So what drives the timing of his unsubstantiated allegations?

Why isn't the media, so intent on following every dead-end tip by "Mr. Williams", also looking into who this person actually is?

Or do we live in an irresponsible new world, where faceless, nameless, anonymous sources can drive mainstream media coverage?

As the Daily Beast reported:

By far the most important thing to know about Menendez’s dueling scandals is that hardly any of the information floating around about is confirmed, nor has it been verified by sources who are willing to be named. As the FBI investigation continues, more concrete facts can be expected to surface, but at this point the most incriminating accusations against Menendez have come from tips--mostly anonymous--to blogs, at least one of which makes no effort to hide its political leanings. And the other, meanwhile, is starting to doubt its sources. "This unnamed source said he has had this information about Sen. Menendez as early as 2008, yet he didn't come forward until four years later, right before Sen. Menendez was up for re-election,"  CREW’s Executive Director Melanie Sloan told CNN of the tipster responsible for the emails. "Further, this source refused to ever speak by phone to us, with other news organizations, or with the FBI, so, those two facts combined to seriously undermine his credibility."