[This is the headline over The Scotsman's report on the First Minister's latest letter to Senator Menendez. The following are excerpts:]
The transatlantic row over the Lockerbie bomber has intensified after Alex Salmond accused a US senator of attempting to "insinuate" a false link between his release and a lobbying campaign by BP, and US politicians claimed the Scottish investigations into the affair had been "limited".
In an angry letter to Senator Robert Menendez yesterday, the First Minister defended his decision to snub a US Senate inquiry into the affair as he restated his denial that the decision to release Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi had been linked to a lucrative Libyan oil deal.
His comments came as two US politicians sent a terse missive to the Scottish Government, complaining that receiving information in writing was not an "adequate replacement" for witnesses appearing in person and claiming that the Scottish Parliamentary inquest into the compassionate release had not been carried out by an independent investigator and had therefore been restricted. (...)
Mr Salmond said that decision had been made "on principle rather than on any issue of practicality" and claimed the most appropriate way for him to provide information to the senators was in writing.
He added: "It is difficult to envisage circumstances in which serving members of the US government would agree to appear as witnesses in hearings or inquiries held by the legislature of another country."
Mr Salmond reiterated his insistence there was no evidence of a link between the release and the prisoner transfer agreement, signed by the UK and Libyan governments shortly before BP reached an oil exploration deal with the African country.
"It was with concern I watched you attempt to insinuate such a link on BBC Newsnight on 30 July by citing a letter from Conservative Party peer Lord Trefgarne, the chair of the Libyan British Business Council, to justice secretary MacAskill last year," he wrote. "This was one of approximately one thousand representations received by the Scottish Government last year." [Note by RB: The Scotsman, for some reason, chooses not to quote the sentences which immediately follow: 'You have this letter because the Scottish Government published this last year as part of our comprehensive issue of documentation related to the decision. That being the case, you must also have seen the reply from Mr MacAskill, also published, which stated that his decisions would be "based on judicial grounds alone and economic and political considerations have no part in the process". In order to avoid any suggestion of misrepresentation, I trust that you will include that fact in future references.']
He added: "Please do not ascribe to the Scottish Government economic or commercial motives for this decision when there is no evidence whatsoever for such a claim." (...)
Later a Holyrood spokesman said questions over the justice committee's handling of the case were not for the First Minister to address.
[The same newspaper has an editorial on the issue. It reads as follows:]
It is clear from Alex Salmond's latest letter to US Senator Robert Menendez that the First Minister is, understandably, beginning to lose patience with the persistent demands and allegations levelled at Scotland from across the Atlantic Ocean.
In his latest missive Mr Salmond is fully justified in taking Senator Menendez to task over the claims the Scottish government released Abdelbaset al-Megrahi to pave the way for the prisoner transfer agreement (PTA) between the UK government and Libya for which the oil company BP lobbied.
As the First Minister rightly points out, there has never been any evidence the Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill took his decision to free Megrahi on compassionate grounds as part of this deal and the insinuation by the Senator in a recent interview that this was the case casts an unwarranted slur on the reputation of the Holyrood government and Scottish justice.
And as if these exchanges were not enough, the water was further muddied last night by another letter, addressed to the Scottish government, from Senator Menendez and his Senatorial colleague Frank Lautenberg which questioned the conduct of an inquiry by the Scottish parliament into the Lockerbie affair.
In response the Scottish government was right to point out that this latest Senate salvo is constitutionally illiterate. Scotland has a separation of powers between the executive arm of government and the elected body to which it is answerable. Just like America.
These latest exchanges have been sparked by the continuing controversy over what happened on that terrible night over Lockerbie in 1988: who was responsible; whether the right man was convicted; and if the PTA agreed by the UK government was linked to BP's bid for business in Libya, once held responsible for bringing down Pan Am 103, but brought into the international fold over the past decade.
In their determination to keep the issue alive - in an election period for them - the Senators are seeing matters from a narrow, US-centric, perspective and conveniently ignoring the doubts over their own country's involvement in the wider Lockerbie story.
There are still questions over the US's warship's downing of an Iran Air A300 Airbus in July 1988 in which 290 passengers were killed, and whether the supposedly retaliatory bombing of Pan Am 103 was the responsibility of Palestinian terrorists linked to Syria, and not Libyans as the US subsequently claimed.
If the Senators are serious in their search for the truth behind the Lockerbie tragedy then, with the same self-proclaimed objective of establishing that truth objectively from evidence, they might care to look a little deeper at the involvement of their own country.
But if, as we suspect, they are not interested in the wider issue and are using the deaths of hundreds of innocent people for partisan electoral purposes then the transatlantic flow of letters from Washington should cease.
In short, a period of silence from Senator Menendez and his colleagues would be welcome.
[The Herald's report, headlined "War of words escalates as Salmond rebukes US senator" can be read here.
The CNN website has a report on the news conference held yesterday by Senators Lautenberg and Menendez. I draw attention to it because of the readers' comments that follow the story. Could it be that the senatorial grandstanding is beginning to backfire even in the United States?
A further report on the CNN website now deals with the First Minister's letter to Senator Menendez.]