Ex-CIA contractor says Pakistan’s leaders helped him escape murder charges

Raymond Allen DavisA former contractor for the United States Central Intelligence Agency, who was released from a Pakistani prison in 2011 despite being implicated in a double murder there, says he was freed with the help of senior Pakistani officials. Raymond Allen Davis was a CIA contractor posted in the US consulate in Pakistan’s Punjabi capital, Lahore, which is also the country’s second-largest city. It has been suggested that, for a while, Davis was the CIA’s acting station chief in Lahore, thus technically the most senior American intelligence officer in Punjab.

On January 27, 2011, while driving in downtown Lahore, Davis opened fire against two men riding on a motorcycle, killing them instantly. Soon after the incident, Davis appears to have contacted the US consulate in Lahore, which rapidly dispatched a consular vehicle to remove him from the scene of the shooting. However, the vehicle was unable to reach Davis, who was surrounded by an angry crowd. Unable to pick up Davis, the car then returned to the consulate after running down and killing a motorcyclist who was unconnected with the earlier incident. Eventually Davis was arrested and charged with double murder and illegal possession of a firearm. The Pakistani government dismissed Washington’s assertion that Davis was an accredited diplomat, and was thus not subject to Pakistan’s legal system because of his diplomatic immunity. With public opinion in Pakistan heavily against Davis, the case sparked a diplomatic crisis between Washington and Islamabad. Unexpectedly, however, Davis was released in March of the same year, after the families of the two men he killed appeared in court and said they forgave him and wanted him to be pardoned. It later emerged that the families of the murdered men had been given a total of $2.4 million as compensation for their deaths.

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News you may have missed #829

Raymond Allen DavisBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Irish police responds to claims of IRA collusion. For nearly two years, the Smithwick Tribunal in Dublin, Ireland, has been hearing allegations that the Provisional Irish Republican Army had supporters inside the Garda Síochána, Irealand’s police force. This past week, the Garda’s Crime and Security Branch gave the Tribunal a 51-page response to the allegations. The tribunal said it “needed time to read the response” before holding another open session next week.
►►How CIA spy Raymond Davis helped turn Pakistan against the US. The New York Times‘ Mark Mazzetti has penned an excellent retrospective analysis of Raymond Allen Davis imbroglio. In 2011, the CIA contractor was arrested in Lahore for shooting dead two men who allegedly tried to rob him. Davis was only released after the US government offered monetary compensation to the families of the dead men. Mazzetti argues that the furor over the Davis incident threatened to shut down most CIA operations in Pakistan and derail the intelligence-gathering operation in Abbottabad.
►►New book explains CIA shift from spying to killing. Speaking of Mark Mazzetti, he has a new book out called The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth. In it, he explores the post-9/11 transformation of the CIA from its original mission –spying– to a facilitator of targeted killings for the Pentagon. He told National Public Radio that “the CIA has become a machine for killing in many ways. The counterterrorism center has become […] the sort of beating heart of the agency that does man-hunting. And these question of ‘Should the CIA stay in the killing business?’ […] is something that is unresolved but is certainly being discussed”.

News you may have missed #604 (CIA edition)

Raymond Allen Davis

Raymond Davis

►►Aid agency leaves Pakistan following CIA vaccination scheme. Fears that a fake CIA vaccination scheme, created to hunt Osama bin Laden, has compromised the operations of aid agencies in Pakistan have intensified, after it emerged that Save the Children, a major NGO, was forced to evacuate its staff following warnings about their security.
►►CIA contractor arrested in car park brawl. A CIA contractor Raymond Davis, who was freed by Pakistani authorities after the families of two men he killed in a shootout agreed to accept more than $2.34 million in blood money, has been arrested after a brawl over a car parking space, according to police in the US state of Colorado.
►►Judge approves secret evidence for CIA leak trial. A federal judge has ruled that prosecutors pursuing a leak case against former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling may use a controversial procedure known as the “silent witness rule” to present evidence to the jury that will not be seen by the public. Sterling is accused of leaking CIA secrets to New York Times journalist James Risen.

News you may have missed #486

  • Hundreds of US officials to leave Pakistan in Davis deal [unconfirmed]. Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune claims that 331 US officials in Pakistan have been identified by Islamabad as spies and are “to leave the country”, under a secret deal between Pakistan and the United States. The alleged deal was reportedly struck between the two sides as part of the release of Raymond Davis, a CIA operative who shot dead two people in Lahore.
  • Australian government unveils new spy legislation. The Intelligence Services Legislation Amendment Bill, which has been unveiled by the Australian government, contains changes to the intelligence services and criminal code legislation designed to “improve the operational capabilities of key spy agencies“, according to the country’s Attorney-General.
  • Dutch military intelligence: closed on Sundays. A Dutch government-commissioned report has revealed that the country’s military intelligence service, the MIVD, played no role in the decision, earlier this month, to attempt an evacuation operation by helicopter near the Libyan city of Sirte. The reason is because the evacuation took place on a Sunday, and requests for intelligence went unnoticed at MIVD headquarters.

News you may have missed #484

  • Analysis: CIA may face reduced role in Pakistan after murder row. People familiar with the views of the Pakistani government say that, as part of the deal for the freeing of CIA operative Raymond Davis, the CIA agreed to give Pakistan more credit for its role in counter-terrorism efforts in Afghanistan, to cut back on US spying in Pakistan and to keep Pakistani authorities better informed of CIA activities.
  • Lebanese Army dismantles Israeli spying device. The Lebanese Army has dismantled an Israeli electronic spy device after receiving a tip-off from members of Hezbollah, according to reports from south Lebanon. This is not the first such reported incident. More pictures of the device are posted here.
  • Exhibition commemorates Soviet spy legend. An exhibition, dedicated to the 100th birth anniversary of legendary Soviet intelligence agent Nikolai Kuznetsov has opened in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg. Kuznetsov uncovered German plans to launch a massive tank attack in Ukraine’s Kursk region, as well as an operation to assassinate Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill in Tehran in 1943.

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

Raymond Allen Davis

Raymond Davis

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
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). Read more of this post

US reducing spy presence in Pakistan, say papers

Pakistan

Pakistan

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Several Pakistani publications report that the United States has suspended some of its intelligence operations in Pakistan and is pulling several of its operatives out of the country. The Islamabad-based Express-Tribune, which is partnered with The International Herald Tribune (the global edition of The New York Times), says that the US move is designed to pre-empt an ongoing investigation by Pakistani authorities into the whereabouts and activities of hundreds of US diplomats in several of the country’s regions. According to the paper, Pakistan’s foreign ministry is in the process of conducting its first detailed investigation into the US diplomatic community in Pakistan in almost three years. The ministry has told the Express Tribune that it has detected 851 Americans operating in Pakistan with diplomatic immunity, of whom nearly 300 “are not working in a diplomatic capacity”. The paper also cites sources inside Pakistan’s ministry of the interior, which claim that as many as 414 American diplomats operating in Pakistan are members of the US intelligence community. Over 40 US intelligence operatives have allegedly left the country or have completely suspended their activities in recent weeks. Read more of this post