FBI investigates US diplomat with links to Pakistan in 'counter-intelligence matter'

Exact nature of the investigation involving Ms Raphel remains unclear

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The Independent US

A veteran State Department diplomat and long-time Pakistan expert is being investigated by FBI officers looking into counter-intelligence.

The FBI searched the Washington home of Robin L Raphel last month, and her State Department office was also examined and sealed, officials said. Ms Raphel, a fixture in Washington’s diplomatic and think-tank circles, was placed on administrative leave last month, and her contract was allowed to expire this week.

Two US officials described the investigation as a counter-intelligence matter, which typically involves allegations of spying on behalf of foreign governments. The exact nature of the investigation involving Ms Raphel remains unclear. She has not been charged.

A spokesman for Ms Raphel said she was co-operating with investigators but has not been told the “scope or nature or that she is the target” of any investigation. US officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

It is unclear whether the investigation, being run by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, is related to her work with Pakistan.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: “The State Department has been cooperating with our law enforcement colleagues.

“She is no longer employed by the State Department.”

Ms Raphel’s family spokesman, Andrew Rice, said her security clearances were put on hold last month and that she is no longer employed by the State Department.

US officials acknowledged that the FBI conducted a search at Ms Raphel’s home on 21 October but would not provide details. Agents removed bags and boxes but it is not clear what was seized.

At the time of the raid, Ms Raphel, 67, was a senior adviser on Pakistan for the office of the special representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan. She was chiefly responsible for administering non-military aid such as US economic grants. Ms Raphel began her government career as a CIA analyst. She served 30 years in the Foreign Service and retired from the State Department in 2005. She returned to the State Department in 2009.

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