Bipartisan Senators Support Probe of Cuban Plot Against Menendez

Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Pursuant to The Washington Post's story on the potential involvement of Cuban agents in the smear campaign against U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), a bipartisan group of his Senate colleagues have voiced their concern and support for a federal probe into the matter.

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“I think we really should get to the bottom of it,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. “If it’s true, and apparently it is, I think Senator Menendez has been deeply wronged.”

“I think he’s right to want to know the truth,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut and former federal prosecutor. “That kind of skullduggery, which potentially is illegal, ought to be investigated.”

Sen. Benjamin Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland and member of the Foreign Relations Committee that Menendez heads, said he already had a low opinion of Cuba because of its imprisonment of Alan Gross, a constituent who was working for an American foreign aid program.

“But this goes beyond what you would expect in the conduct of any legitimate government,” Cardin said. He said there was little the Senate could do to Cuba, but the incident could make it tougher to relax future restrictions on trade.

“It makes it much more problematic improving that relationship,” Cardin said. “And five years ago we were on the path, I think, for a stronger relationship with Cuba.”

While not commenting on Menendez directly, Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who like Menendez is the son of Cuban immigrants, said the power of the Cuban intelligence service is underestimated by the United States.

“It is in fact one of the three or four most active intelligence agencies in the United States,” Rubio said.