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U.S. OFFICIAL IS ACTUALLY CIA CONTRACTOR
GOLDMAN and KIMBERLY DOZIER, Associated Press 45 mins ago
WASHINGTON An American jailed in Pakistan for the fatal shooting
of two armed men was secretly working for the CIA and scouting a neighborhood
when he was arrested, a disclosure likely to further frustrate U.S. government
efforts to free the man and strain relations between two countries partnered
in a fragile alliance in the war on terror.
Raymond Allen Davis, 36, had been working as a CIA security contractor
and living in a Lahore safe house, according
to former and current U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity
because they weren't authorized to talk publicly about the incident.
Davis, a former Special Forces soldier who left the military in 2003,
shot the men in what he described as an attempted armed robbery in the
eastern city of Lahore as they approached him on a motorcycle. A third
Pakistani, a bystander, died when a car rushing to help Davis struck him.
Davis was carrying a Glock handgun, a pocket
telescope and papers with different identifications.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration insisted anew Monday that Davis had
diplomatic immunity and must be set free.
In a hastily arranged conference call with reporters shortly after details
of Davis' employment were reported, senior State Department officials
repeated the administration's stance that he
is an accredited member of the technical and administrative staff
of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. They said the Pakistani government had
been informed of his status in January 2010 and that Pakistan is violating
its international obligations by continuing to hold him.
The officials would not comment on Davis' employment but said it was irrelevant
to the case because Pakistan had not rejected his status. The
officials spoke only on grounds of anonymity because of the sensitivity
of the situation.
The revelation that Davis was an employee of the CIA comes amid a tumultuous
dispute over whether he is immune from criminal prosecution under international
rules enacted to protect diplomats overseas. New
protests in Pakistan erupted after The Guardian newspaper in London decided
to publish details about Davis' relationship with the CIA.
The U.S. had repeatedly asserted that Davis had diplomatic immunity and
should have been released immediately. The State Department claimed Davis
was "entitled to full criminal immunity in accordance with the Vienna
Convention" and was a member of the "technical and administrative
staff" at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.
The Associated Press learned about Davis working for the CIA last month,
immediately after the shootings, but withheld publication of the information
because it could endanger his life while he was jailed overseas, with
at least some protesters there calling for his execution as a spy.
The AP had intended to report Davis' CIA employment after he was out of
harm's way, but the story was broken Sunday by The Guardian. The CIA asked
The AP and several other U.S. media outlets to hold their stories as the
U.S. tried to improve Davis' security situation.
A U.S. official says Davis is being held at a jail on the outskirts of
Lahore where there are serious doubts about whether the Pakistanis can
truly protect him. The official says the Pakistanis have expressed similar
concerns to the U.S.
A senior Pakistani intelligence official said the government had taken
measures to ensure the safety of Davis, stepping up security at the facility,
removing certain inmates from the prison and sending a contingent of well-trained
paramilitaries known as the Rangers.
The State Department said the Pakistani government was informed that Davis
was a diplomat and entitled to immunity when he was assigned to the U.S.
Embassy in Islamabad.
"We are very mindful of the difficulty that the government of Pakistan
faces with public opinion in this case," department spokesman P.J.
Crowley said. "We remain concerned about him and our message to Pakistan
remains that he should be released as soon as possible."
Davis identified himself as a diplomat to police when he was arrested
and "has repeatedly requested immunity" to no avail, Crowley
said. The U.S. Embassy said he has a diplomatic passport and a visa valid
through June 2012. It also said in a recent statement the U.S. had notified
the Pakistani government of Davis' assignment more than a year ago. However,
the senior Pakistani intelligence official says that Davis' visa application
contained bogus U.S. contact information.
Since Pakistani authorities took the ex-Special Forces soldier into custody
Jan. 27, U.S. officials said, the situation has
slowly escalated into a crisis, threatening the CIA's ability to wage
a dangerous war against al-Qaida and militants. Some members
of Congress have threatened to cut off the billions in funding to Pakistan
if Davis isn't released.
Davis was attached to the CIA's Global Response Staff, which provides
security overseas to agency bases and stations, former and current U.S.
officials told the AP. In that role, he was assigned to protect CIA personnel.
One of their duties includes protecting case officers when they meet with
sources. On the day he was captured, he was familiarizing himself with
"Davis is a protective officer, someone who provides security to
U.S. officials in Pakistan," the U.S official said. "Rumors
to the contrary are simply wrong."
In a YouTube video of local police interrogating him, Davis says he's
a consultant and he's with the "RAO," a reference to the American
Regional Affairs Office. Davis also said at one point he was attached
to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.
Working for the agency's GRS comes with risks sometimes fatal ones.
The head of security at the CIA's base in Khost, Afghanistan, was killed
with six others in December 2009 after a suicide bomber detonated a powerful
explosive under his belt.
The CIA has a major presence in Pakistan, where
it runs the drone program in Islamabad and offensive operations
against militants, al-Qaida and Pakistan's spy agency, Inter-Services
Former and current U.S. officials say the Pakistanis might have been stalling
to release Davis so he could be extensively questioned, hoping he could
provide more information about CIA activities in the troubled country
or possibly even identify other agency officers.
The senior Pakistani intelligence official told the AP the two men in
the response vehicle that went to aid Davis, killing the bystander, have
left the country. The official said the Pakistani government's decision
to let them leave was a concession to the U.S.
The U.S.-Pakistani partnership had begun to fray in recent months. In
late 2010, a pair of civil lawsuits filed in the U.S. accused Pakistan's
spy chief of nurturing terrorists involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Shortly after the lawsuits were filed, the name
of the CIA's top spy in Pakistan was publicly disclosed and
his life threatened. He was eventually pulled out of the country in December,
a month before the scheduled end of his tour.
A former CIA officer said militants have also threatened the children
of ISI officers. And the CIA in recent years has become increasingly concerned
about the safety of its officers in outlying areas like Lahore and Peshawar,
a former senior U.S. intelligence source said. But the danger was more
pronounced in Lahore, where the CIA learned there
might be government elements willing to harm agency officers.
Former CIA officials said the agency officers could have been killed in
2009 when terrorists attacked an ISI compound in Lahore. CIA officers
regularly met their counterparts at the compound but didn't have a meeting
scheduled the day of the attack.
Further inflaming tensions, the wife of
one of the men Davis shot committed suicide.
She had said she feared her husband's killer would be freed without trial.
Military records show Davis, a Virginia native,
served a decade in the Army, including five years with the 3rd Special
Forces Group in Fort Bragg, N.C., home to the Green Berets.
Davis also worked for security contractor
Worldwide, now known as Xe Services.
- Blackwater were responsible for the indiscriminate mowing down of innocent
civilians in Iraq on 16 Sep 2007. The Iraqi people are still fighting
for vengeance and justice for that - and many other similar episodes attributed
to Blackwater. Blackwater's activities will truly make your hair stand
on end. Blackwater is made up of nothing more than a group of hired mercenaries
who murder and kill at will - and who are one of the preferred deliverers
of U.S. state sponsored terrorism in Iraq and other countries. Contracts
given to Blackwater by the Bush administration is measured in the billions.
In other words - George W. Bush fully supported and condoned all of Blackwater's
activities. He is fully complicit in any and all wrongdoing by Blackwater
- in addition to a catalogue of other crimes by Bush highlighted throughout
TVOTW web site. Blackwater
is also used by the CIA for it's extraordinary rendition program. Innocent
civilians are kidnapped anywhere in the world and taken to countries such
as Uzbekistan where they are tortured and murdered.]
his wife run a Las Vegas-registered company called Hyperion Protective
Services. The address for its headquarters is a mailbox at a UPS store
in a strip mall. The truth about Davis' true employer briefly slipped
out after a local television reporter in Colorado called his wife.
In a story posted on the website of Denver's 9News, the wife provided
the name and number of a "CIA spokesperson" in Washington, D.C.
But the story was quickly taken down, edited
and then reposted with new language eliminating any reference to the CIA.
The incident in Pakistan also raises serious questions about how an armed
CIA employee could become involved in a fatal shooting with
street bandits and allow himself to be captured. Former CIA
officers say they were taught to make their way back to the safety of
the embassy or consulate in potentially dangerous situations, but the
circumstances could have made that impossible in Davis' case.
Insert - Independent verification needs to be made to properly determine
if the people Davis killed were just normal civilians going about the
lives with nothing whatsoever to do with politics - or any form of military
or militant affiliations. There mere fact that the wife of one of the
men Davis killed - committed suicide - speaks for itself.]
Former CIA officials say this is not the first time an agency employee
was detained in a foreign country. In the 1980s, a CIA officer with diplomatic
immunity was abducted in Ethiopia after he was suspected of spying. The
case was quietly resolved and the officer was eventually released.
Associated Press writers Oskar Garcia in Las Vegas and Anne Gearan
and Matt Apuzzo in Washington and Kathy Gannon in Islamabad contributed
to this report.
Al-QAIDA FIGURE BELIEVED
KILLED IN U.S. DRONE STRIKE
ISHTIAQ MAHSUD, Associated Press Mon Feb 21, 12:37 pm ET
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan An Iraqi al-Qaida operative was believed
to be one of 15 militants killed in two U.S. missile strikes in Pakistan's
tribal belt along the Afghan border Monday, Pakistani intelligence officials
The officials said the man, identified as Abu Zaid al-Iraqi, handled the
terrorist group's finances in Pakistan. He was
not known to be on any published U.S. lists of wanted al-Qaida
leaders, and U.S. officials do not normally acknowledge the existence
of the CIA-led missile program or talk about who is being killed.
The two strikes, coming roughly 24 hours apart, were the first since the
arrest of a U.S. citizen who shot two Pakistanis in late January. There
had been speculation that Washington had put a hold on the disputed tactic
while it pressured Pakistan to release the American, saying he has diplomatic
immunity and acted in self-defense.
In the first strike, which occurred overnight Monday, three missiles hit
a house in the village of Kaza Panga in the Azam Warsak area of the South
Waziristan tribal region, said two intelligence officials.
Al-Iraqi was believed to be one of several foreigners among
the seven dead. He was described as being in his late 30s and
going by the local name "Ali Khan." Al-Iraqi is believed to
have shifted to South Waziristan in 2008 after time spent in Afghanistan.
The officials said they learned of his death through agents on the ground
in South Waziristan, as well as sources in the Taliban. Nonetheless, independent
confirmation of such deaths is nearly impossible because of the remote,
dangerous nature of the areas involved. Rarely are bodies made available
Pakistan's tribal regions have long been key hideouts for Taliban and
al-Qaida fighters, including many from other countries. While Pakistan's
military has waged offensives in various parts of the northwest, the
U.S. has also used drone-fired missiles to target insurgents there.
Most of the missiles hit North Waziristan, a region populated with several
militant groups whose primary focus is attacking U.S. and NATO troops
across the border in Afghanistan. The Pakistani
military has not taken action in that area because it says
its priority is tame militant groups launching attacks on Pakistan's soil.
The second strike Monday involved four missiles
that struck a house in Spalga village near Miran Shah, the main town in
North Waziristan, killing eight alleged militants, said two
other intelligence officials. There was no immediate
word on the exact identities of those killed.
The Pakistani intelligence officials
all spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to
talk to reporters on the record.
The frequency of the missile strikes often more than one a week
dropped to zero after American Raymond Davis was detained for shooting
two Pakistanis in the eastern city of Lahore on Jan. 27.
The U.S. has demanded his release, arguing Davis was acting in self-defense
against robbers and has diplomatic immunity from prosecution because he
works for the U.S. Embassy.
Former and current U.S. officials,
who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to
talk publicly about the incident, have told The Associated
Press that Davis had been working as a CIA security contractor for the
U.S. consulate in Lahore.
It was never clear whether the Davis incident had any direct impact on
the lull in missile strikes. But observers have
speculated Washington may have been holding back on the strikes to avoid
further angering a population already riveted by the Davis arrest.
Pakistan's government publicly denounces the
missile strikes as violations of its sovereignty, but is believed
to secretly support the program. Wary of public opinion, however, Islamabad
has strained its ties with the U.S. by refusing to verify whether Davis
is a diplomat.
Officials here say the matter is up to the courts, where police
say they want to pursue murder charges against him.
In Pakistan's southwest, meanwhile, a bomb placed in a lavatory at a bus
terminal killed a man and wounded two other people. Police official Hamid
Shakeel said the device went off in Quetta, the main city of Baluchistan
Baluchistan has long been the scene of a low-level insurgency by ethnic
nationalists seeking more autonomy for the province and a greater share
of the money derived by the government from its natural resources.
Associated Press writers Rasool Dawar in Peshawar, Pakistan, and Adam
Goldman and Kimberly Dozier in Washington contributed to this report.
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