A veteran State Department diplomat and Pakistan expert is under federal investigation in a counterintelligence probe, which usually involves allegations of spying for a foreign government, The Washington Post
Robin Raphel, a former ambassador and the ex-wife of the ambassador to Pakistan when he was killed in a plane crash along with the then-Pakistani president, had her home in Washington and her State Department office searched and sealed by the FBI.
Raphel, 67, who is widely known and well-liked in D.C. diplomatic and think-tank circles, was put on administrative leave last month, and her contract with the State Department was not renewed this week.
"We are aware of this law enforcement matter," 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."
The counterintelligence investigation, which can involve espionage allegations, is being run by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, according to the Post.
Andrew Rice, a spokesman for Raphel, said she was cooperating with investigators but has not been told the "scope or nature or that she is the target" of any specific probe, the Post said.
Rice said Raphel’s security clearance had been withdrawn last month and that she was no longer employed by the State Department. "She is aware and can confirm there is some kind of investigation," he said.
During the search of her home on Oct. 21, the FBI removed bags and boxes. Her State Department office remains locked.
Raphel, who began her government career as a CIA analyst, was a senior adviser on Pakistan for the office of the special representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan, and her duties involved administering nonmilitary aid.
During her previous 30 years of service with the Foreign Service, she was one of the government’s most senior advisers on Pakistan and South Asian issues, a former assistant secretary of state for South Asia, and a former ambassador to Tunisia.
Her ex-husband, Arnold Raphel, was U.S. ambassador to Pakistan when he was killed in 1988 during the mysterious crash of a plane also carrying Pakistani President Mohammed Zia ul-Haq, a military dictator. The crash was believed to have been an assassination.
At the time, Raphel was a political officer serving in South Africa, while she has also spent parts of her career in Pakistan, Britain and India. In 1993, then-President Bill Clinton named her as the first assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, the Post reported.
She has also worked as a lobbyist for Cassidy & Associates, a Washington-based government relations firm, and represented Pakistan, Equatorial Guinea and Iraq’s Kurdistan government.
After retiring from the State Department in 2005, she returned in 2009 to work as an adviser to Richard Holbrooke, who had been named by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the new post of special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Post said.
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