Sex, Lies, and a Fake Videotape?

kyle_hatcher092509.jpgThis story about a kompromat sex tape made of a U.S. diplomat in Russia is spreading like wildfire across the internets.  Kyle Hatcher, a relatively young diplomat posted to the U.S. Embassy to liaise with religious groups in Russia, was allegedly filmed in a hotel room, and then the tape cuts to someone in the act with an alleged prostitute.  The full tape has lots of added extras, like alleged tapped phone calls and very bad synthesizer saxophone music to sleaze it up.

So far, everything looks far from accidental.  The video was posted up to the same web site which had previously used a kompromat sex tape to discredit and eliminate James Hudson of the UK Foreign Office, and links were directly delivered to newspapers (notably the loyal Komsomolskya Pravda) which concocted a salacious tale of a covert CIA agent caught in the dirty act.

The response from the State Department has been angry denial:  “Mr.Hatcher has been the subject of a smear campaign in the Russian pressand on the Internet to discredit him and his work. (…)  We had oursecurity office back in Washington take a look at that andthey are convinced Kyle has done nothing wrong. I have full confidencein him and he is going to continue his work here at the embassy.

Who knows, maybe Hatcher was actually a CIA spy, as it is hard tounderstand why the FSB would go through all the effort to just kick outa low level liaison.  This technique of sex tape kompromat is a timehonored tradition in Russia, and many frequent readers will recall thatit was one cornerstone of Vladimir Putin’s rise to political power,when he allegedly arranged one such tape of Prosecutor Yuri Skuratov,who was asking too many questions about Yeltsin’s corruption.

Still, I am inclined to think this one is fake.  I’m sure the firstthing they tell a new diplomat arriving to Moscow is that you keep itzipped up … though that is an awfully tall order for some people.