Washington- A veteran State Department diplomat and longtime Pakistan expert is under federal investigation as part of a counterintelligence probe and has had her security clearances withdrawn, according to US officials.
The FBI searched the Northwest Washington home of Robin L. Raphel last month, and her State Department office was also examined and sealed, officials said. Raphel, a fixture in Washington’s diplomatic and think-tank circles, was placed on administrative leave last month, and her contract with the State Department was allowed to expire this week.
Two US officials described the investigation as a counterintelligence matter, which typically involves allegations of spying on behalf of foreign governments. The exact nature of the investigation involving Raphel remains unclear. She has not been charged.
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 probe.
US officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. Spokesmen with the FBI and the Justice Department’s National Security Division declined to comment.
Details of federal counterintelligence investigations are typically closely held and the cases can span years. Although Raphel has spent much of her career on Pakistan issues, it was unknown whether the investigation, being run by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, was related to her work with that country.
“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.”