The State Department has officially said the tape allegedly showing department employee Brendan Kyle Hatcher having sex with a prostitute is a fake, CNN reported Friday.
Spokesman Ian Kelly said U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle backs Hatcher.
"Mr. Hatcher ... enjoys the full confidence of Ambassador Beyrle and fully intends to serve out the rest of his tour in Moscow," Kelly said Thursday during news briefing.
The United States "deplores this type of campaign and use of the Internet to smear a foreign service officer of good standing," Kelly said.
Hatcher had worked on religious and human rights issues in Russia, the spokesman said.
Another State Department official said the tape was doctored as part of a set-up "designed to implicate someone working as a liaison with religious and human rights groups in Russia."
The official said Hatcher "was approached by Russians; they tried to blackmail him, but he did everything correctly" by reporting the incident to his supervisors, CNN said.
The tape appeared on the tabloid newspaper Web site Compromat.ru and was picked up by other outlets. Diplomatic sources told CNN that Compromat.ru has a history with Russia's security services.