Over the past few years, Pakistan's spy agency spent millions of dollars on a secret lobbying effort in Washington, the Justice Department has said Tuesday. An AP report explains that by funding a non-profit organization with ties to White House and Congress, the Inter-Services Intelligence-backed effort is pegged to one man, Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai. Tuesday morning, the FBI arrested Fai, the executive director of the Kashmiri American Council and a U.S. citizen, under charges that he's a secret agent working for the Pakistani government, the Associated Press reports. A court filing in Alexandria, Virginia claims that Fai received $500,000 to $700,000 a year from the Pakistani government, a sum that may have been used for Fai's contributions to Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and Republican and Democratic Senate campaigns. The Pakistani Embassy quickly denied any knowledge of paying Fai for lobbying efforts.
The sense of irony in Pakistani money being used to lobby the United States is unavoidable, although you can see how it might have made sense for Pakistan. Until last week, the U.S. sent $2 billion a year to Pakistan to fund military operations there. Finding Osama bin Laden hiding out in Abbottabad, Pakistan's equivalent of West Point, strained relations, and the U.S. withdrew one third of that committed amount. The FBI's latest revelation will surely further strain those relations.