Is Paul Wolfowitz' mistress a spy?

Editor's note: this originally appeared in The Washington Note.


Last night, I had dinner with a long-time national security systems analyst who has worked in the Department of Defense and now works for one of the larger private think tanks funded mostly by government. She recounted to me how managing and coordinating large purchasing and acquisition networks in the national security business requires methodologies and approaches that few learn during their college education. That said, years ago, she was assigned an assistant who was brilliant and understood how the acquisitions process worked better than nearly anyone -- and who turned out to be a spy.

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz's girlfriend, Shaha Riza, for whom Wolfowitz arranged not only jobs, incredible pay raises, automatic "outstanding" ratings in performance reviews, but also -- apparently -- a security clearance, is probably not a spy. But our system of national security "secrets management" is not based on trust. It's based on multi-pronged, overlapping constant investigation -- human and electronic.

It would be important for any senior State Department or Defense Department official tasked with maintaining the integrity and security of classified material and information to approach Shaha Riza -- a Libyan national raised in Saudi Arabia -- who was the "girlfriend" of the Deputy Secretary of Defense -- as if she could be a spy.

This is not a matter that those who would know Ms. Riza or who trust Wolfowitz's judgment should say "how dare someone raise that question?!" This should be the question that should have been asked at every stage of Shaha Riza's apparent penetration of the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and the private firm, SAIC.

Sidney Blumenthal has laid out the core fundamental questions about the management of Shaha Riza's security clearance:

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