The FBI is conducting a counterintelligence investigation to determine if Egypt’s intelligence services were involved in the alleged bribery scheme outlined in the indictment of Senator Bob Menendez and his wife. The investigation is separate from the federal corruption case that accuses Menendez of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. Menendez, who was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, oversaw U.S. aid to Egypt, and investigators are interested in determining if Egyptian intelligence officials or their associates attempted to gain access to Menendez through his wife.
According to the indictment, Menendez accepted bribes to use his political position to benefit the Egyptian government and enrich a group of Egyptian American businessmen. The three businessmen named as co-defendants are accused of providing bribes ranging from gold bars to a luxurious car. Two of the businessmen are scheduled to be arraigned, and the third pleaded not guilty. Menendez and his wife also face charges related to extortion under the color of official right. Lawyers for the defendants deny any connection to Egyptian intelligence and suggest that the friendship between Hana and Nadine Menendez will be part of their defense.
The investigation is looking into whether Menendez’s marriage was a factor in providing him with possible deniability or distance from potential transactions with intelligence operatives. The FBI is examining the case from a counterintelligence perspective, as Menendez’s position on the Foreign Relations Committee made him a target for foreign intelligence services seeking decisions in their favor. Menendez has denied all charges and resisted calls to resign, while the Egyptian Embassy has not responded to requests for comment.