Pakistan releases CIA operative in ‘carefully choreographed’ deal [updated]

Raymond Allen Davis

Raymond Davis

Pakistani groups had warned of “Egyptian-style protests” if CIA operative Raymond Allen Davis was released from detention, so his release earlier today, which hardly surprised intelligence observers, appears to have been arranged so as to limit its feared political spillover. In a move that The Washington Post described as “carefully choreographed”, Islamabad handed Davis to the Americans, while the latter thanked the families of the two men killed by Davis for “their generosity” in forgiving him. The exchange was announced later in the day, so by the time it made the rounds on Pakistani media, it was after nightfall, and too late to organize street protests. Some violent clashes between police and demonstrators were reported in Lahore (where the killings took place), but the streets other Pakistani cities appear to be generally quiet. Davis, who was charged with murder by a Pakistani court earlier this year, appears to have been freed after the US agreed to give $700,000 to the families of each of his two victims. The total cost to the US behind Davis’ deal may be as high as $2.3 million (update: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton  has said the US “did not pay compensation” for Davis’ release). In January 25, Davis (note: this may not be his real name) used an unregistered Glock semi-automatic pistol to shoot dead two passengers on a motorcycle, who he says tried to assault him while he was driving his car in Pakistan’s second largest city. Witnesses say Davis shot dead the one of the two men by firing ten shots from inside his vehicle, before stepping outside to shoot the second man as he was running away from the scene of the crime. Pakistani authorities say Davis’ claim to self-defense is discredited by the fact that the second man’s body was found almost 10 meters away from the motorcycle, bearing bullet wounds in his back. A third individual was struck and run over by a car carrying several armed Americans, whom Pakistanis say were also CIA operatives.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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