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At the dawn of the so-called "war on terror," Levey successfully lobbied Bush's national security team to turn up the heat on Iran, a country that considered Al Qaeda its mortal enemy. His weapon of choice was sanctions, convincing the Bush administration to blacklist Iran's Central Bank and sever Tehran's ties to the global financial system.
"Stuart Levey's war is like 'Charlie Wilson's War,' " an unnamed State Department official told the New York Times, referring to a former Texas congressman's campaign to undermine the Soviet Union by funneling arms to Afghan insurgents. "It's the most direct and aggressive stuff we've got going. It delivers."
Mandelker learned the ropes in Levey's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, developing an innovative arsenal of financial weapons against the enemies of Israel, a state for which she and her boss clearly felt a passionate attachment.
She came to the job with the conservative movement credentials she gained as a clerk in the office of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and as a card-carrying member of the right-wing Federalist Society.
Mandelker's husband, Stephen Capozolla, has worked as a spokesman for the Alliance for American Manufacturing, a Washington-based lobbying group, while pumping out columns denying climate change for the right-wing site, Breitbart.com.
In 2008, while Mandelker served in Bush's Department of Justice, she approved the notorious deal that allowed the wealthy child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein to escape federal prosecution.
"I was told Epstein 'belonged to intelligence' and to leave it alone," Alex Acosta, the former US attorney who brokered the deal, told the Trump administration's transition team.
When Mandelker returned to government in March 2017, she earned immediate praise from Levey, her former boss, who called her "an asset." Michael Chertoff, another close colleague, described her as his "eyes and ears" when he was at the Department of Homeland Security.
Pro-Israel websites also buzzed about the appointee, homing in on her alleged Israeli roots."Mandelker"isn't just Jewish, she's Israeli!"
The right-wing Jewish Press described Mandelker as an "Israeli-born deputy secretary," while the Israeli security blog, Debka File, referred to her as a "former Israeli." Meanwhile, the Jerusalem-based blogger, Jewlicious, called Mandelker a current Israeli citizen. When asked how he knew she maintained her citizenship, the blogger said he didn't know, but that "she was born in Israel."
According to Mandelker's bio at the Treasury Department, however, she was born in Chicago, Illinois.
The Treasury Department did not respond to questions from The Grayzone about Mandelker's citizenship status. It would be unusual for a US official to obtain a security clearance while maintaining dual citizenship, however, Mandelker's former colleague at the Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, was reportedly born an Israeli citizen.
Whatever her citizenship status is, Mandelker has made no secret of her desire to advance the geopolitical imperatives of "our great partner, Israel."
Her sanctions blacklist is broadening by the day, resulting in even former US national security officials being visited by the FBI for their participation in an Iranian media event.
How the sanctioning of that conference came about is the subject of heavy intrigue. According to Mehanna, the co-founder of the New Horizon Organization, she and husband were targeted as the result of a separate US investigation into a former US counter-intelligence officer and her alleged handler, another American citizen.