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.