Eavesdropping on Pakistani official led to investigation against US diplomat Robin Raphel: Report

Published: November 21, 2014
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Robin L Raphel. PHOTO: REUTERS

Robin L Raphel. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) started a probe against former diplomat Robin L Raphel after American investigators intercepted a conversation this year in which a Pakistani official suggested that his government was receiving American secrets from a prominent former State Department diplomat, New York Times reported.

A US State Department expert on Pakistan, Robin was stripped of her security clearance and made part of a federal counterintelligence investigation recently. The investigation that shocked diplomatic circles was conducted after months of secret surveillance on the former diplomat following the conversation.

The NYT report quotes senior American officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The officials said agents discovered classified information during an FBI raid last month at Robin’s Northwest Washington home.

Raphel is the former wife of US ambassador Arnold Raphel who was killed aboard a plane carrying Ziaul Haq in 1988 and has been a longtime South Asian expert and also worked as State Department adviser on civilian assistance for Pakistan.

Raphel has not been charged with a crime. The scope of the investigation is not known, and it is unclear exactly what the Pakistani official said in the intercepted conversation that led to suspicion about Robin, the NYT report said.

It is also not clear whether the conversation was by telephone, email or some other form of communication.

Still, the new details shed some light on the evidence that Justice Department prosecutors are weighing as they decide whether to bring charges and help explain why the investigations were carried out.

Earlier, a spokesperson for Robin said she was cooperating with investigators but has not been told the scope or nature or that she is the target of any probe.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • wb
    Nov 21, 2014 - 12:35PM

    Never, ever become a friend of Pakistan.

    You are bound to doom.

    First Fai, now this woman.

    Recommend

  • wb
    Nov 21, 2014 - 12:36PM

    Honestly Pakistanis, you must ask yourselves, how was your tax rupees going to her pocket?

    Oops, what am I saying? You don’t pay your taxes.

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  • Tyer Durdan
    Nov 21, 2014 - 12:51PM

    For a moment, I thought it was Sonia Gandhi !

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  • Wajahat
    Nov 21, 2014 - 12:54PM

    Why were the eavesdropping on Pakistani officials?!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Yours Sincerely
    Nov 21, 2014 - 1:21PM

    @wb:
    worry for who is getting our tax money in your country son! Worry before its too late..

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  • Careless Whispers
    Nov 21, 2014 - 1:27PM

    @wb:
    This shloud b an eye opener for ppl like u backstabber s, that Neva underestimate the approach, abilities of this nation, don’t play with fire kids ur bound to have ur dirty hands burned.. :)

    Recommend

  • Bewildered
    Nov 21, 2014 - 1:53PM

    @wb:

    “Never, ever become a friend of Pakistan. You are bound to doom.”

    Look how doomed is China, So is Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and the list goes on. By the way, is there any country in the world who has brotherly relations with India, except for business relationships. Every neighbor of country of India has either fought wars or have serious disputes/issues with you. First look in the mirror and then talk.

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  • goldconsumer
    Nov 21, 2014 - 2:09PM

    @wb:
    You are again wrong! Mr. Fai has been released and is back in supporting the Kashmir cause to the best of his abilities :)

    Recommend

  • wb
    Nov 21, 2014 - 2:50PM

    @Bewildered:

    “Look how doomed is China, So is Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and the list goes on. “

    Be honest, do you have a friendship with these countries or a slave-master relationship?

    “By the way, is there any country in the world who has brotherly relations with India, except for business relationships. Every neighbor of country of India has either fought wars or have serious disputes/issues with you. First look in the mirror and then talk.”

    Brotherly relationship doesn’t exist between any two countries of the world. It’s always strategy, business and other interests.

    Also, India has fought wars only with two countries. Pakistan and China. India has great relationship with Bhutan and Burma.

    India has good relationship with Srilanka and Nepal.

    India has average relationship with Bangladesh.

    And India China are closer than Pakistan China.

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  • Lolz
    Nov 21, 2014 - 3:04PM

    @wb: Bro, you should first have a look at the biggest slums in your country where people dont even have a penny to pay as tax! Slum-dog Millionaire ;-)

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  • Shamsher Singh Bajwa
    Nov 21, 2014 - 3:49PM

    @Bewildered:
    How is Saudi your friend when they behead Pakistanis everyday ? And do explain how China os your friend, did they come to your rescue dring any Wars, yes almost all relationships are business – is a surprise Chinese PM did not bother stopping in your country while he visited India and invested over $20 billion.

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  • reader
    Nov 21, 2014 - 3:56PM

    @wb again
    i think it is not about being DOOMED, but instead about something called MORALITY. this lady, she is american, if she leeking screts to pakistan, why so? maybe because she has CONSCIENCE, and is not comfortable with DIABOLICAL treatment of american demon-cracy to pakistan? do you think that is right? why america not bother someone instead their OWN size? it is wrong to help poor person then??

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  • straightshooter
    Nov 21, 2014 - 4:39PM

    @wb:
    Just read a bit about India-Bhutan relationship bit. Really…now that’s a master-serf relationship if there ever was one, wb. Notwithstanding, how can you give them $600M when you are killing your female fetuses for want of money? Think, wb, think. And only then bob your head at Pakistan’s issues.

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  • Sneha
    Nov 21, 2014 - 6:04PM

    @straightshooter ” Bhutan-india Master-serf relation”
    Sorry dude we have ancient religious and cultural links with Bhutan. We respect Bhutan and treat them as equal and they address india as bhutans best friend. And we celebrate our friendship each year through mutual cultural programs. Doesnt matter what opinion you have about us.
    “How can you give them $600m when you are killing female foetuses for want of money”? Crimes happen in every country. There are 30 states with different cultures in india for 3-4 states some people mindset you can’t generalise a country.
    What’s more important is you have fair justice system and laws to punish criminals which we do. Unlike Pakistan where you have lax law and matters are brushed under the carpet or let off due to stigma and shame.
    Btw America has most number of drug problems, woman crimes etc so they should not business or give 600$to other countries? Nice logic this is democracy not godocracy that you expect a crime free country specially when one is developing country.

    @biwildered india has excellent relationship with saarc countries excluding yours. See the countries modi visited and their govt and peoples warm greeting he received.

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  • unbelievable
    Nov 21, 2014 - 7:01PM

    It would be interesting to know what “secrets” this lady had access to – the State Dept line on Pakistan has always been polite and unbelievable – the drone attacks make a policy statement that is unmistakable. I wouldn’t be surprised that it turns out that the “secrets” this lady disclosed weren’t secrets at all … just bringing her uninformed friends up to speed on policy/events they could have discovered on their own.

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  • Gp65
    Nov 21, 2014 - 9:32PM

    @Lolz:
    Not having a penny to pay tax is different from cheating on tax. Poking fun at pverty is as cheap and in as poor taste as us poking fun at Thrparkar deaths. Human misery should not be a source of joy to others.

    Tax to GDP ratio in India is 16% compared to 9% in Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Asok
    Nov 22, 2014 - 2:49AM

    @Wajahat, the NSA eavesdrops on everyone. All foreign officials in the US should expect this.

    The real question is, why was a Pakistani official so indiscreet?

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  • AVMPolpot
    Nov 22, 2014 - 4:38AM

    @Bewildered: ‘; “By the way, is there any country in the world who has brotherly relations with India, except for business relationships. ”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Sir while u were busy here expressing your learned opinion, the US Pres announced his second official visit to India. Hmmmm!.

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  • AVMPolpot
    Nov 22, 2014 - 4:41AM

    ” American investigators intercepted a conversation this year in which a Pakistani official suggested that his government was receiving American secrets from a prominent former State Department diplomat, New York Times reported.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Pakistan allows US to eavesdrop on its officials but when India offered a bugged bullet proof car to PM Nawaz they snubbed India.
    This is discrimination on the basis of Kashmir. I protest.

    Recommend

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