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Biden Admin Investigating Official Accused of Being Iranian Spy After Previously Saying She Was ‘Properly Vetted’

(Screenshot / Columbia SIPA)
(Screenshot / Columbia SIPA)

By: Jake Smith, Daily Caller News Foundation

The Biden administration is investigating a top Pentagon official for her alleged ties to an Iranian influence network after previously saying on Wednesday that it was “honored to have her serve.”

Chris Maier, assistant secretary of defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, confirmed during a congressional hearing that the Pentagon is “actively looking” into whether Ariane Tabatabai, a high-level Pentagon official, was properly vetted, as Tabatabai stands accused of working for an Iranian influence network. When asked about Tabatabai’s ties to Iran, the Pentagon previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation and other media outlets that she was “thoroughly and properly vetted” and it was “honored to have her serve.”

Tabatabai is allegedly a member of the Iran Experts Initiative, which was created to strengthen Tehran’s global image on a number of priorities and policies.

“This is an ongoing personnel matter,” Maier said during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Thursday. “We are actively looking into whether all law and policy was properly followed in granting my chief of staff (Tabatabai) top secret special-compartmented information. Maier could not confirm how the Pentagon vetted Tabatabai for hiring and security clearance.

The Iran Experts Initiative (IEI) was created in 2014 to bolster Tehran’s international image on a number of initiatives – principally its nuclear program – by influencing U.S. and European academics and researchers, some of whom, like Tabatabai, ended up working in government roles. Tabatabai was reportedly recruited by the IEI in 2014 to write op-eds, give interviews and provide advice to top Western officials, all with the intent to promote Iran’s global image.

Tabatabai is the current chief of staff for the assistant secretary of defense for special operations in the Pentagon and a former Iranian diplomat for the Biden administration. She has not been removed from her current role, and additional details of the investigation were not provided by Maier.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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