Fog of hookers: The story behind the Post-Daily Caller spat

This morning, visitors to the Daily Caller's homepage were greeted by the headline "Hooker Headache" -- an apt way to sum up the reporting feud between the Daily Caller and the Washington Post over New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, Dominican prostitutes, and which prostitute was paid for what when. Here's our attempt to sort through this scandalous imbroglio:  

Nov. 1, 2012: The Daily Caller releases a video of two women claiming that they were paid to have sex (on separate occasions) with Menendez while he was vacationing in the Dominican Republic. (Each said she was promised $500 but was paid only $100.) Menendez denies the claims, and later blames the right for the false story.

March 4, 2013: The Washington Post reports that one of the women on the November video had admitted that she wasn't actually paid to have sex with Menendez, but rather paid to say that she had. The 23-year-old escort, Nexis de los Santos Santana, told Dominican authorities that she was hired by a lawyer to tape the interviews in mid-October. She thought she was lying for a divorce case, not implicating a U.S. senator, the woman explained. "Those are my words and that is me, but it does not reflect the truth," she said in her affidavit. Menendez is vindicated! The Post wins.

March 5, 12:43 am: The Post has its prostitutes mixed up, reports the Daily Caller. According to the Daily Caller, this Nexis de los Santos Santana escort was not one of the two women pictured on the November video. At the time of the interview, both of the women said they were 24, and neither gave her name as Nexis de los Santos Santana. De los Santos Santana and her lawyer are lying, claims the lawyer accused of fabricating the interview.

March 5, 2:00 am: ABC news jumps in, saying de los Santos Santana is indeed one of the women in the video, and that Republican operatives had helped arrange the video interviews with the two escorts.

March 5, 7:32 am: The Daily Caller stands by its reporting, claiming that the Post "falsely reported" its March 4 story, and didn't even contact the Daily Caller for comment.  

March 5, 10:15 am: The Post stands by its reporting, and a Post spokeswoman asserts that reporters did indeed reach out to the Daily Caller but got no response. 

March 5, 1:42 pm: The Daily Caller claims to be in the process of "verifying [its] story" but accuses the Post of editing its original story, without publishing the edits.

The Post has yet to respond, but we are sure they will. Can't imagine both sides don't have a few more escorts up their sleeves.

The Daily Caller


Momentum builds to declassify CIA detention program

The cast of characters calling for the White House to publish a Senate investigation into the CIA's Bush-era detention and torture practices expanded on Tuesday.

Calling the CIA's detention program "an international conspiracy of crime," Ben Emmerson, the United Nations' special rapporteur for counterterrorism and human rights, called on the Obama administration to publish the findings of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which reviewed more than six million pages of CIA and other records in its confidential investigation. "The special rapporteur calls on the United States to release the full Senate Select Committee report as soon as possible, subject to the specific redaction of such particulars as are considered by the Select committee itself to be strictly necessary to safeguard legitimate national security interests or the physical safety of persons identified," Emmerson said.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment regarding Emmerson's presentation. But Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), who serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he agrees with the U.N.: the investigation should be made public. "The government has an obligation to the American people to face its mistakes transparently, help the public understand the nature of those mistakes, and correct them," he told Foreign Policy. "It is time to make the record of this program public."

The report is of particular interest to human rights groups, as it reportedly examined the worst abuses of torture and detention over the last decade, and the extent to which it occurred. A recent independent investigation into the program by the Open Society Foundation found that more than 50 countries participated in the CIA's worldwide interrogation program.

The fact that Attorney General Eric Holder has ruled out any criminal prosecutions of U.S. officials who tortured detainees also appeared to irk Emmerson, who said torture was prohibited "under customary law and international treaties."

Importantly, Udall and others were not willing to use the declassification of the investigation as a poker chip in the confirmation of John Brennan for CIA director. This afternoon, the intelligence committee advanced his confirmation in a 12 to 3 vote. Beyond Udall, others on the Intelligence Committee were less outspoken about their preference to declassify the investigation. An aide to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the committee, referred FP to Feinstein's previous statements about disclosing the investigation, which emphasized seeking White House consultation. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), the vice chair of the committee, declined to comment.

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