Robin Raphel, lobbyist

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


The authors of this article are...

Chidanand Rajghatta Pro-Pak ex-US diplomat under lens for spying The Times of India Washington Nov 08 2014

Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo, F.B.I. Is Investigating Retired U.S. Diplomat, a Pakistan Expert, Officials Say The New York Times, NOV. 7, 2014

Suhasini Haidar, Robin Raphel, the ‘obstacle’ in India-U.S. ties The Hindu

Anne Gearan and Adam Goldman U.S. diplomat and longtime Pakistan expert is under federal investigation The Washington Post

Harinder Baweja Clearing the air/ Future of Indo-US bilateral relations depends on resolving Kashmir and F-16 sales to Pak India Today April 15, 1994 |

Ashis Ray, RAW tapped senior US official's phone, 'heard’ US-Pak move on J&K, The Times of India TNN | Sep 17, 2012

M K Bhadrakumar, FBI swoops down on an American robin, November 7, 2014

Indrani Bagchi,TNN When former US diplomat acted as a courier for Pakistan, | Nov 9, 2014, The Times of India

Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, Veteran US Diplomat Robin L Raphel encouraged creation of Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir, The Economic Times

B.Raman’s strategic analysis

Personal details

Robin Lynn Raphel

Born 1947, in Vancouver, WA

Sexual orientation: Straight (This is from

Marital status: Her first husband, Raphel (whom she had divorced by then), was so close to the Pakistani military establishment that he died with General Zia-ul-Haq, who had become the President of Pakistan through a military coup.

Ms Raphel later married Mr Leonard A. Ashton. She has a daughter from each husband.

Friends: (Pak Observer adds what many speak of only privately: ‘Robin Raphel made no secret of her love for Pakistan and her friendship with prominent Pakistanis (including the legendary Shafqat Kakakhel).’)


1965: High School: Longview, WA

1965-69: Graduated with B.A. in history and economics from the University of Washington (including a year, in between, at the University of London)

1967-68: History, University of London

1969-70: One year at Cambridge University

After 1972: master's degree in economics from the University of Maryland

Career as teacher

1970-72: Taught history at Damavand College for women, Teheran, Iran

2000- 2003: Senior Vice President at the National Defense University, Washington.

Languages spoken

English, French, Urdu.

Career with CIA

After her master's from Maryland, Robin Raphel joined the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) as an analyst.

A spy?

Robin Raphel, a former State Department official and lobbyist who tormented New Delhi in the 1990s with provocative remarks on Jammu and Kashmir's accession to India and was seen as a brazenly pro-Pakistan partisan in Washington, has, since Oct 2014, been under FBI investigation for possible espionage.

'Two U.S. officials described the investigation as a counterintelligence matter, which typically involves allegations of spying on behalf of foreign governments,' The Washington Post reported.

1991: Early links with South Asia

Raphel served as a political counsellor in New Delhi (1991-1993) after an early stint as a CIA analyst.

In 1993 she was pitchforked into the job of assistant secretary of state in Washington DC in the newly created “South Asia“ bureau (the post later included Central Asia) by President Bill Clinton, with whom she was reported to be friends going back to their Oxbridge days.

The “South Asia“ coinage itself was received skeptically by New Delhi, which saw it as an effort to dilute the cachet that “Indian subcontinent“ had.

It was in her capacity as assistant secretary of state (South Asia) that Raphel started tormenting India.

During her Delhi stint, The Hindu reports, she ‘had already made ripples with frequent visits to Srinagar and expressing strong views on Kashmir at diplomatic events.’

Created the Hurriyat Conference?

`She backed Malik, Mirwaiz; Hurriyat was her brainchild' Saleem Pandit The Times of India Nov 09 2014

Raphel was clearly no diplomat. She reportedly welded the many disparate secessionist Kashmiri groups together into the All- Parties Hurriyat Conference, and united them in their conflict with the Indian establishment. And within the Hurriyat Conference she played favourites, supporting those with a wider mass appeal.

Robin Raphel promoted moderate Kashmiri separatists Yasin Malik and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq while sidelining hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani in Pakistan, intelligence sources in Srinagar said.

She was in constant touch with the two and managed their first visit to Pakistan and then to the US many times. Raphel used her contacts to get them voice their views before the US Congress and American thinktanks.

The Mirwaiz first visited Pakistan in 2005 as part of a separatist delegation following the reopening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road.

Sources said then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf had invited the separa tists on the advice of Raphel, who worked as a lobbyist for Pakistan. Geelani was invited too but he refused to go due to his opposition to the reopening of the road and Raphel's role in organizing the trip.

Sources claimed even the Hurriyat Conference was formed when several separatist groups came together with Raphel's aid and advice in 1993. They added that Hurriyat was an American creation and was formed after Raphel advised Washington as well as Pakistan to “have one group in Kashmir to reckon with“. She had made the US believe that this would serve its interests.

Raphel also helped in highlighting human rights abuses in the state and was in touch with Ghulam Nabi Fai, who was arrested in the US on spying charges. The ex-diplomat had remained America's advisor on Pakistan even after she left the US state department.

Eminent strategic analyst B.Raman added, ‘During her posting in the US Embassy in New Delhi, she was actively interacting with the various anti-India groups in Jammu & Kashmir and it was reportedly on her advice that the Hurriyat, as an umbrella organization of these groups, became very active.’ B.Raman’s strategic analysis (Till then each Kashmiri militant group was acting on its own. The All Parties Hurriyat Conference brought them all together.)

The Economic Times adds that ‘Robin L Raphel encouraged creation of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir in 1993, thereby making them stakeholders even as India has always maintained that it was bilateral issue between Delhi and Islamabad.

‘She had stated that insurgency in the state was self sustaining.

‘She was also close to Ghulam Mohammed Fai in US, an ISI conduit from Kashmir, she maintained close links with Yasin Malik (leader of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front) and she is close to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the most prominent face of Hurriyat Conference.’

Pathological hatred of India

The reason for Raphel's animosity towards India has never been fully explained or understood.

Had it been limited to Kashmir or Pakistan it could have been called a point of view. However, she wanted nothing less than the break up of India into pieces. Raphel also supported Khalistani separatists and persuaded Clinton to support them.

She was the first U.S. diplomat to call Kashmir a "disputed territory."

Some put her hatred to her New Delhi posting in 1991, when she was posted as Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, a city in whichwhen she reportedly suffered a traumatic accident that needed hospitalization which left her unhappy.

Others attributed it to her fondness for Pakistan from earlier links (her former husband Arnold L. Raphel was the US ambassador there [and was so close to the Pakistani top brass that] in 1988 he died in the aircrash that also killed Gen Zia-ul Haq).

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar feels that ‘Raphel’s is a classic case where intellectual convictions derived out of rich professional experiences and commitment to state policies and perceived national interests got badly mixed up at some point or the other with personal relationships [emphasis added] and prejudices — at which point a diplomat gets hopelessly compromised.

Be that as it may, Raphel soon proceeded to create havoc as the pointperson for “South Asia“, raising the hackles of the Narasimha Rao government in New Delhi with incendiary pronouncements on the Kashmir issue, particularly at a time New Delhi was already dealing with a tense situation in the state arising from the Hazratbal episode.

In one background briefing she suggested that Washington did not recognize the instrument of accession that made Kashmir a part of India and effectively questioned the validity of the India Independence Act.

She was also dismissive of the Shimla Agreement saying it was ineffective and outdated. Each of this positions validated Pakistan's viewpoint.

1993: Her controversial press conference

Raphel's exact words during a non-attributable discussion with some Indian journalists in Washington DC, towards the end of 1993, when she questioned Jammu & Kashmir's accession to the Indian Union, were, "We view the entire former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir as disputed territory. In our view, India and Pakistan need to get together and have serious negotiations on how to resolve this dispute and other problems between them. We have said that it is important, of course, and a practical necessity that the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir be taken into account in this process. That has constantly been our position; it hasn't changed."

The Times of India prominently carried this story on the front page without identifying the official of the State Department who had talked to the Indian journalists on the Kashmir issue. B.Raman’s strategic analysis

The ‘obstacle’ in India-U.S. ties

The Hindu adds: When she made her controversial comments on the Kashmir dispute and the suggestion of a referendum, the Indian government saw her as a formidable, antagonistic voice to contend with. “The U.S. was seen as pro-Pakistan at the time,” describes diplomat Satinder Lambah, who was India’s High Commissioner in Islamabad then, “And Ms. Raphel was a real obstacle in bettering ties between the US and India. They improved dramatically, later, but it was in spite of her.”

The Narasimha Rao government issued demarches, both in New Delhi and Washington, expressing unhappiness over the comments. While Ms. Raphel remained in the position for several years, the Clintons changed their public positions on Kashmir soon after. President Bill Clinton, who had even raised concerns over “human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir” at a White house function in 1994, no longer brought those up, even as a visit by Hillary Clinton in April 1995 to New Delhi paved the way for better relations.

Controversial policies

“Eventually, we have been vindicated by this investigation,” said an official who preferred not to be named, speaking about the just-announced U.S. federal probe against Ms. Raphel, “We repeatedly told the U.S. that Ms. Raphel’s position was anti-India, but it was also not in the U.S.’s interests.” As a diplomat Ms. Raphel was responsible for two other controversial policies: that of suggesting support for the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan in 1996, as a means of securing the U.S. company Unocal consortium’s pipeline plan in the region, as well as advocating dropping parts of the U.S.’s Pressler amendment that put strict oversight over aid to Pakistan. After she retired, Ms. Raphel joined consultancy group Cassidy & Associates and landed a massive $1.2 million contract from the Pakistan government under President Musharraf, to “improve Pakistan’s image” in the U.S. in 2007.

1993: Protecting Pakistani state-sponsored terrorism

Raphel’s remarks outraged New Delhi, but it got worse when she was seen as brazenly working to protect Pakistan from being declared a state sponsor of terrorism following the terrorist attack on Mumbai in 1993 -in the face of evidence provided by India, including detonators used in the serial blasts that mysteriously disappeared when they were sent to Washington for forensic evaluation.

Robin exploited her proximity to President Clinton to prevent Pakistan being declared as a State sponsor of terrorism after the Mumbai blasts of March,1993.

The late Indian spymaster Bahukutumbi Raman referred in his memoirs to this “ack-thoo“ moment in US-India relations, saying, “I felt like vomiting and spitting at the state department officials. I might have done so had they been there.“ The principal subject of his ire was Raphel, who had enraged him by threatening to put both Pakistan and India on the same terrorism list.

“The state department officer, who had previously served in the US Embassy in New Delhi, asked the Ambassador to tell New Delhi that if the R&AW did not stop what the state department described as its covert actions in Pakistan, the US might be constrained to act against Pakistan and India for indulging in acts of terrorism against each other,“ Raman wrote in a thinly-disguised reference to Raphel and her machinations. According to the message, Raphel had said: “You have been asking us for many years to declare Pakistan as a state-sponsor of terrorism. Yes, we will do so. But we will simultaneously act against India too if it did not stop meddling in Pakistan.“

Raman thought Raphel was being disingenuous in equating India with Pakistan, which was effectively carrying out a war inside India using disaffected Indians (such as Dawood Ibrahim) and jihadis, and moreover had tried to undermine India by sponsoring the Khalistani separatism in Punjab.

He took the matter to Narasimha Rao, who after determining that Indian intelligence was not sponsoring any terrorist violence in Pakistan (aside from keeping political contacts with Pakistan leaders who were not inimical to India), took a strong stand against Raphel and her incendiary positions.

In one of the more trenchant statements, Rao's home minister S B Chavan virtually accused Washington of turning a blind eye to terrorism against India, if not actively supporting it. “We have no evidence,“ Chavan told journalists, “but there is no doubt that the US is helping Pakistan in aiding and abetting terrorist and anti-social activities in India.“

The mild-mannered Rao himself took up the matter with visiting US Senators Thad Cochran, Larry Pressler and Hank Brown, telling them that Raphel's statements did not help the promotion of Indo-US relations. These were among the reasons why she was sent on a 4-day tour of India in 1994.

1994: Raphel’s visit to India

By 1994 Raphel was easily the woman India hated the most. At the time India’s international clout was not what it would later become on the strength of several years of continued economic success. Yet, the USA realised that things had gone too far from their side.

American had been having a rough time in Asia: North Korea had refused to let its nuclear sites be inspected; Japan had not accommodated the USA on the then controversial Super 301 issue; and China had snubbed the USA on trying to link China’s human rights record with trade.

America’s relations with India were at their worst since December 1971 when, during the Bangladesh Liberation War, the USA had deployed US Task Force 74, a US Navy task force of the United States Seventh Fleet, and the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise, in the Bay of Bengal as a show of strength against India and in support of Pakistan. (Such US actions gave India no choice but to abandon its non-alignment. A Soviet Navy submarine started following the US task force. A US-USSR standoff was prevented when the American fleet slinked away towards South East Asia, away from the Bay of Bengal.)

Back to 1994: The then ‘US Charge d'Affaires Kenneth Brill, had conveyed to the Government of India that Raphel was keen to smoothen out 'Raphel-ed' feathers. In return, the invitation to [Prime Minister] Rao to visit the US in May [1994] was used to smoothen Raphel's passage to India. The US want[ed] to put Indo-US relations back on the rails,’ India Today reported in 1994.

In Pakistan, Raphel would meet the President directly. After all, her husband lived and died with the Pakistani president. Top Pakistani officials would fawn on her. The view in India was that she was a mere Joint-, at best Additional-, Secretary in the US government. Therefore, the Indian establishment felt that her visit should be confined to JS—at best AS—level officers. Home Minister Mr Chavan had publicly called Raphel a 'junior US official.'

‘The controversy over whether Raphel should be given the red carpet treatment or that she meet only her Indian counterpart, Hardip Puri, joint secretary (America), was soon settled,’ India Today reported at the time. ‘Brill - in the forefront of all the anger and fury - set the pace for the arrival of a conciliatory Raphel. The American Embassy went out of its way to keep the foot-in-the-mouth Raphel at arm's length from the media, and the [Congress] Government reciprocated by asking its party's youth wing to keep off the streets./ While bureaucrats from the Home Ministry and Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) were given the go-ahead for attending functions, as were Congress(I) MPs, Youth Congress(I) chief Maninderjit Singh Bitta [a victim of terrorist violence himself], famous for his skills at sabre-rattling, was asked to put off his protest rally. The few BJP activists who did raise slogans and burn effigies were, as a US Embassy member said, "noises we could live with".’

In the event Home Minister Chavan agreed to give Raphel an audience.

Pakistani courier meets Hardeep Puri

During the course of discussions with the Indian side in Washington that year, Raphel pulled out a sheaf of papers saying, "My friends over in Pakistan want you to go through this paper. It is not an official document, but ..." Saying this she pushed the wad of papers so they were directly in front of the Indian delegation, led by former diplomat, Hardeep Puri, who later became a member of the BJP. (From The Times of India )

The paper remained on the table, the Indians refusing to touch it. Raphel was told that if Pakistan wanted India to look at their paper, they would have to give it to New Delhi themselves, rather than route it through the US.

The Indians thought the US role was curious, not to speak of the Pakistanis. In January of that year, India had given what is now famous as the "non-paper" for normalizing relations across a spectrum of areas. Pakistan rejected the proposals and bilateral ties slumped until December 1997.

Hardeep Puri later told The Times of India , "Anyone who dealt with her realized straightaway she was pursuing her own agenda."

Temperature lowered; U.S. policy unchanged

On Kashmir, Raphel was somewhat conciliatory. While agreeing that it should be settled within the parameters of the Shimla agreement (words that soothed the Indian side somewhat), she added that the US was willing to mediate a deal between India and Pakistan (this part delighted the Pakistanis and irritated India, which is sworn to bilateral talks with Pakistan). She also tried to explain that her statement questioning the Instrument of Accession had been misunderstood.

At the time relations between India and the USA had also been rocked by the USA’s plans to sell between 38 and 71 deep-penetration F-16 eroplanes to Pakistan. India was worried because, as the expert US lawmaker Senator Larry Pressler had pointed out, the F-16 was "the one that can deliver a nuclear bomb to another country". Everyone knew that Pakistan had secretly made nuclear weapons (with the knowledge of US officials), though overt testing of nuclear weapons by Pakistan was still a few years away.

The Pressler Amendment expressly forbade the sale of such defence equipment to Pakistan. It banned most economic and military assistance to Pakistan unless the President of the USA certified every year that "Pakistan does not possess a nuclear explosive device and that the proposed United States assistance program will reduce significantly the risk that Pakistan will possess a nuclear explosive device."

Indian PM Mr Narasimha Rao had gone on record as saying that any dilution of the Pressler Amendment "will force India to review its defence policy."

However, Raphel, acting on the brief give to her by her government, justified this sale as a "one-time exception.

Raphel’s four-day visit to India 1994 had stirred deep rooted anger in India—against her and, thus, against the country she represented. India Today had noted at the time, ‘To judge from all the hype and hysteria generated in Parliament and the media, Robin Raphel could have been the visiting head of an invading army and not, as her title suggests, the US assistant secretary of state.

‘At the end of an exhaustive round of ministerial talks and through several lunches, teas and dinners which marked her four-day visit, the controversial Raphel had the satisfaction of having achieved exactly what she had come for - to reiterate what she had been saying in the past weeks from Washington on the contentious issues of Kashmir, human rights and nuclear non-proliferation.

‘Only, this time, the tone was different and as former foreign secretary J.N. Dixit says: "She behaved like a professional."

‘Professional maturity is what marked the Indian attitude as well. In keeping with his calibrated style of functioning, Prime Minister Narasimha Rao decided not to match churlishness with churlishness.’ India Today

With hindsight it is now clear that while the US government of the time agreed with the substance of what Raphel had been saying, it was alarmed by her vicious style. Therefore, the US State Department sent Raphel to India to lower the temperature—but not to soften the US stand on anything concerning Pakistan.

Indeed, in April 8 1994, a few days after Raphel’s visit to India, Strobe Talbott and she went to Islamabad, to show concern for Pakistan's position that India's conventional arms superiority vis-à-vis Pakistan was so great that Pakistan simply had to have the F-16s.

1994: Raphel’s machinations continue

In 1994, Jammu and Kashmir was under President’s Rule—the elected government having resigned in January 1990.

In September 1994 Pakistan provisionally introduced a draft resolution against India on Kashmir at the United Nations general assembly's first committee. Given the virulence of Robin Raphel’s statements, India was worried about whether the USA would actually vote for the resolution, and against India. Raphel’s posture suggested that she was trying to make the USA vote against India.

In any case, a wide section of the Indian establishment, led by the then Prime Minister of India P V Narasimha Rao, and backed by the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Gen KV Krishna Rao, wanted an elected government in the state, wanted to release all Kashmiri dissidents not wanted for any actual killing [this was done], and wanted a return of the ICRC (Red Cross) to the state. (The elections were held in 1996)

India’s foreign secretary Kris Srinivasan, met his counterpart in the US administration Peter Tarnoff, and argued that "a negative vote [by the USA] against India at the UN would only stimulate militant activity and render futile the democratic steps the Indian government was trying to take".

In his memoirs 'Diplomatic Channels', Mr Kris Srinivasan revealed that India's external intelligence agency, RAW, snooped on a telephone conversation between Robin Raphel, and the then US ambassador in Islamabad, which confirmed that the US would not back the move by Pakistan, and therefore the resolution would fail to proceed any further.

India soon came to know of the frustration of Raphel — "which we came to hear from a phone intercept," says Srinivasan. She informed her colleague, the US ambassador, that she had pressed for an affirmative vote for the Pakistan resolution, but had been blocked by the "higher-ups".

RAW had successfully tapped Raphel's call, despite this being from Washington to Islamabad

1996: Big Oil?

Was Raphel’s obsessive protectiveness for Pakistan really a way of furthering the interests of Big Oil? And was that why Central Asia was tagged to her South Asian desk?

M K Bhadrakumar, then India’s ambassador in Tashkent, mentions that by 1996 Raphel had moved back to State Department. By now ‘her mission was to build bridges between the Central Asian countries and the Taliban — the thesis we in Delhi were debunking. The year was 1996. The Taliban had begun appearing in the Amu Darya region by then and there was great unease in the steppes where the call of the ‘jihad’ could be heard.

‘Raphel’s message to the Central Asians was that they had really nothing to fear from the Taliban whose agenda related exclusively to Afghanistan and who had no interest whatsoever in promoting ‘jihad’ in Ferghana Valley.

‘To what extent Raphael was promoting the interests of Big OIl (which had conceived the TAPI gas pipeline) and to what extent she was clearing the path for the Taliban (and Pakistan’s ISI) in northern Afghanistan is a moot point. Incidentally, ISI was also on a charm offensive at that time in Rashid Dostum’s fiefdom.

‘Suffice to say, there was much convergence between the US and Pakistani objectives at that point in time in promoting the Taliban.

‘As a Wahhabi outfit, Taliban was just what the US wanted as an instrument of policy while relentlessly pursing the containment strategy toward Iran. Besides, the US viewed the Taliban as capable of stabilizing Afghanistan (which was under Mujahideen rule), which of course served the interests of the American oil companies.

‘For Raphel, the policy line toward the Taliban came naturally as she was a staunch believer in the raison d’etre of the US-Pakistani axis in regional security in South and Central Asia.

‘Raphel is not an ordinary run-of-the-mill American diplomat in the South Asian circuit; she is one of the handful who might have actually met Mullah Omar in the fastness of Kandahar in the hazy 1990s.’

It was during her stewardship of the South Asian Affairs portfolio in the State Department that the Taliban under Mulla Mohammad Omar came into existence in 1994 with the joint support of the Pakistan and US Governments. The Taliban was prepared to support the construction of an oil and gas pipeline by UNOCAL, an American oil company, from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan and she had met Mulla Mohammad Omar in this connection. This period also saw Osama bin Laden shift from Khartoum to Jalalabad in 1996 without any objection from the US. The Taliban later shifted him to Kandahar. B.Raman’s strategic analysis

1997: Good riddance...

...but only on paper

The post-Cold War US-India relationship really gained traction only after Raphel left the scene, circa 1997, and Bill Clinton brought in Karl Inderfurth at the state department, writes M K Bhadrakumar

…for actually she never left

The Economic Times wrote that Raphel, remained Americas advisor on Pakistan, even after she left US State Department's South Asia Department in June 1997 and also [after] her retirement [in 2005].

B. Raman wrote, ‘Even after [Raphel] left the State Department and joined the faculty of the National Defence University, she reportedly maintained active contacts with anti-India elements in J&K.’

What is surprising is that Raphel still walked in and out of the corridors of the state department and continued to have her say in the US’ regional policies — until very recently, in fact. She figured in late Richard Holbrooke’s team and in that capacity even visited Pakistan. (M K Bhadrakumar)

In fact, Raphel's presence in the Special Representative's office on Af-Pak [SRAP] only heightened Indian suspicions. India never did take kindly to Richard Holbrooke either, who was the highest profile SRAP thus far. On at least two occasions, New Delhi denied him a visa to visit India, believing he was using his position to get into the India-Pakistan bilateral game. (The Times of India)

‘She remained one of the most senior advisors of State Department on South Asia and Pakistan and was working with the State Department on renewable contracts,' The Economic Times added.

‘When relations between Delhi and Islamabad had touched a low following the attack on Parliament in 2001 and both sides had lowered level of diplomatic engagement, it was Raphel who tried to force India to talk to the Pervez Musharraf government.

‘A former official, who was testimony to one such incident told The Economic Times that in 2005 Raphel accompanied then US Deputy Chief of Mission in Delhi for a meeting with the Indian government and tried to cajole the government to talk to Mirwaiz.

‘Few also took notice that Raphel was in Delhi in 2012 at the invitation of then US envoy to Nancy Powell. The former US ambassador, who herself made an unceremonious exit from Delhi this year, introduced Raphel as a personal friend of hers to the some of the officials in Delhi. In fact Powell had fixed meetings of Raphel in Delhi, an official well versed with the developments informed The Economic Times

…the USA bent rules to ensure she didn’t

NitiCentral <> Pranab Dhal Samanta, US bends rules, India-baiter Raphel named for Pak aid job, Thu Nov 12 2009, Indian Express

An Indian Express report published in November 2009 report said- “The US decision to appoint Robin Raphel as coordinator for non-military aid to Pakistan has run into controversy over conflict of interest with latest disclosures from a lobbying firm where she worked earlier clearly stating that she had been an active lobbyist for Pakistan until a few days before her appointment.”

Robin Raphel once referred to Pakistan as a “model, modern, moderate Muslim State.” The report further quotes an official of Cassidy saying that the firm had been hired by the Pakistan Embassy for $700,000 a year plus expenses which can run into thousands of dollars, as seen in the past.

Officially: a lobbyist for Pakistan

After retiring from the the Foreign Service in 2005 and before she returned to Foggy Bottom as a consultant on Pakistan, Raphel became a lobbyist for Pakistan, working on the account for Cassidy and Associates, which had previously won a $1.2 million contract to promote the country as an “important strategic partner of the US.“

She told the Hill newspaper at that time that “there is less than perfect understanding of Pakistan here,“ and her job will be to make sure “all relevant parties have the facts.“

The New York Times added: ‘In 2009, the American Embassy in Pakistan hired her to help administer billions of dollars of development aid to the country. She returned to Washington in 2011 as a senior adviser on Pakistan issues for the State Department’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.’

Nov 2014: the cover is blown

Raphel was suspected of taking classified information home from the State Department. ‘F.B.I. was trying to determine why Ms. Raphel apparently brought classified information home, and whether she had passed, or was planning to pass, the information to a foreign government,’ The New York Times reported. ‘It is extremely rare for the F.B.I. to open a counterintelligence investigation into such a prominent Washington figure.

Washington Post added: In Oct 2014 the FBI reportedly searched Raphel's Washington DC home and examined and sealed her office at the State Department, where she was till recently before the raids serving as an adviser on Pakistan-related issues.

U.S. officials acknowledged that the FBI conducted a search at Raphel’s home Oct. 21 but would not provide details of the search. Agents removed bags and boxes from the home, but it is not clear what was seized there or at her office.

At the time of the raid, Raphel was a senior adviser on Pakistan for the office of the special representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan. In that job, she was chiefly responsible for administering nonmilitary aid such as U.S. economic grants and incentives.

After the F.B.I. searches she was placed on administrative leave in Oct 2014, , and her contract with the State Department allowed to expire in Nov 2014, the Washington Post, which first reported the story, said.

Two US officials described the investigation as a counterintelligence matter, which typically involves allegations of spying on behalf of foreign governments, the paper added. The state department, Robin Raphel's parent body till she retired in 2005, reacted discreetly to the development that churned up analysts who worked on the subcontinent, where Raphel was both a colourful and divisive personality. The department is aware of the matter and has been cooperating with law enforcement, a spokesperson said, confirming that Raphel is no longer employed by it.

Career (other than as Pakistani ‘lobbyist’)

i) Ambassador to Tunisia;

ii) Assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs in the Clinton administration.

iii) ‘The 9/11 Commission interviewed Ms. Raphel about her experiences dealing with Pakistan’s government and about her official meetings with the Afghan Taliban.’ The New York Times adds, ‘According to the commission’s report, Ms. Raphel “noted how Washington used one ideology, radical Islam, to defeat another, communism, in Afghanistan.”’ “This, she cautioned, while successful in the short run, came back to haunt the U.S.,” the report said. “As a result, policy makers should consider the dangers when working with highly ideological movements.”

Ms Raphel neglected to mention how she backed violence and militant ‘moderate Islam’ in her determination to prise Kashmir away from India, and into the folds of Pakistan.

Complete career chart

1973-75: CIA employee Economic analyst

1975-78: US Agency for International Development Economic-financial analyst, Islamabad, Pakistan

1978-?: US State Department Economist, Office of Investment Affairs

US State Department Economic Officer, Israel Desk

1984: US State Department Staff Aide to the Asst. Secy., Near East & South Asian Dept. -

1984-88: US State Department Political Officer, London, England

1988-91: US State Department Political Counselor, Pretoria, South Africa

1991-93: US State Department Political Counselor, New Delhi

1993-97: US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs

1997-2000: US Ambassador to Tunisia

2003-: US State Department Coordinator for Iraq Reconstruction

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