The FBI is investigating a longtime State Department diplomat, Robin Raphel, for allegedly taking home classified information, according to The Washington Post and other media outlets.
Raphel, a former ambassador and a senior adviser on Pakistan issues for the State Department, is a foreign policy fixture in the US government.
The New York Times noted that it was “extremely rare for the FBI to open a counterintelligence investigation into such a prominent Washington figure.”
It is not immediately clear what Raphel is suspected of doing, but she has already had her security credentials revoked as authorities try to determine why she apparently brought classified information home and whether she intended to pass the information to a foreign government. Her home was reportedly raided by law enforcement officials on Friday.
Andrew Rice, a spokesman for Raphel, told The Times that “her nearly 40 years of public service at the highest levels of US diplomacy speak for themselves.”
Anonymous US government officials told CNN that the investigation was a counterintelligence one, “which typically refers to allegations of spying on behalf of foreign governments.”
A State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said in a statement that her department was “cooperating with our law enforcement colleagues on this matter.”
Raphel is indirectly connected to at least one other mysterious foreign policy incident. According to The Times, Raphel’s former husband and then-ambassador to Pakistan, Arnold Raphel, was killed in a 1988 plane crash with the president of Pakistan, Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq.
“There are numerous theories about the cause of the crash,” the paper added, “including that it was an assassination and that nerve gas in a canister hidden in a crate of mangoes was dispersed in the plane’s air-conditioning system.”
A spokesman for Raphel told the Associated Press last week that Raphel was cooperating with authorities but had not been told she was under investigation.
“She hasn’t been told what this investigation is about, if anything,” the spokesman said. “She has cooperated with the government and she’s confident this will be resolved.”
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