By Robert Fisk in Cairo
|File: Ambassador Frank Wisner, the Secretary of Stateâ€™s Special Envoy for Kosovo Final Status Talks at the New York Foreign Press Center Briefing on â€œKosovo Final Status Issues.â€|
Frank Wisner, President Barack Obamaâ€™s envoy to Cairo who infuriated the White House this weekend by urging Hosni Mubarak to remain President of Egypt, works for a New York and Washington law firm which works for the dictatorâ€™s own Egyptian government.
Mr Wisnerâ€™s astonishing remarks â€“ â€œPresident Mubarakâ€™s continued leadership is critical: itâ€™s his opportunity to write his own legacyâ€ â€“ shocked the democratic opposition in Egypt and called into question Mr Obamaâ€™s judgement, as well as that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The US State Department and Mr Wisner himself have now both claimed that his remarks were made in a â€œpersonal capacityâ€. But there is nothing â€œpersonalâ€ about Mr Wisnerâ€™s connections with the litigation firm Patton Boggs, which openly boasts that it advises â€œthe Egyptian military, the Egyptian Economic Development Agency, and has handled arbitrations and litigation on the [Mubarak] governmentâ€™s behalf in Europe and the USâ€. Oddly, not a single journalist raised this extraordinary connection with US government officials â€“ nor the blatant conflict of interest it appears to represent.