Embassy, Gov’t Officials Continue Silence Over Mystery US Official

Speculation grew yesterday that the mysterious US official who visited Phnom Penh on Wednesday may have been US Central Intelligence Agency Director David Petraeus, though officials for a second day remained tight-lipped about the visitor’s identity.

Police officers who escorted the US official’s motorcade said embassy staff told them that the visitor was involved in counterterrorism, leading some to believe that Mr. Petraeus, who was in Bangkok on Monday, also stopped by Cambodia from Tuesday night until yesterday morning.

US Embassy spokesman Sean McIntosh declined to confirm or deny whether the CIA director had visited Cambodia.
“The US Embassy does not comment on anti-terrorism issues,” Mr. McIntosh said.

If the visitor was indeed Mr. Petraeus, it would be the first time a CIA director has visited Cambodia for 57 years, the last time being Allen Dulles’ mission here in 1955 to persuade then-King Norodom Sihanouk to place Cambodia under the protection of the South East Asia Treaty Organization to prevent the spread of Communism.

Government officials were also surprisingly silent on the identity of the US official who paid a visit to Prime Minister Hun Sen residence near Independence Monument.

The Interior Ministry’s International Relations Department Director Por Phak declined to comment on the visit, as did other senior police and military officials.

Lieutenant General Hun Manet, commander of the country’s anti-terrorist unit and lead official on counter-terrorism issues, could not be reached for comment.

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