Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Updated: Raymond Davis Case: Analysis Feb 20-23

No easy solution to impasse over jailed CIA man

Associated Press
Posted: Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011
WASHINGTON The standoff between Pakistan and the United States over the detention of an American CIA contractor held in the fatal shooting of two Pakistanis is posing a growing diplomatic quandary for both countries.

Some members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, are threatening to cut off funds to Pakistan if Raymond Allen Davis is kept much longer in a Pakistani jail. But turning him over to the U.S. could unleash a torrent of anti-American sentiment across Pakistan, threatening to undercut that country's fragile civilian government.

With anti-government protests sweeping the Middle East, public restlessness and anger could ripple as far as Pakistan, probably making the timing less than ideal for a government in an Islamic country to make a public show of cooperation with the United States.

The U.S. maintains that Davis, 36, is exempt from criminal prosecution under the principle of diplomatic immunity and should be turned over to American authorities. The U.S. also claims Davis acted in self-defense when he shot the two men he says tried to rob him.

Does the U.S. still maintain that position despite the disclosures that Davis was working as a CIA security contractor? "Yes," insisted State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley on Tuesday.

Crowley said U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter met Tuesday in Pakistan with that country's foreign affairs minister, "continuing our work with Pakistani authorities to resolve the issue."

But no easy face-saving resolution for either side appeared in sight.

Pakistan's government thus far has not offered a formal position on the issue of diplomatic immunity, despite efforts to try to ease tensions by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., who visited Pakistan last week at the request of President Barack Obama.

A judge last week put off ruling on the case until mid-March to give the government more time to formulate an official position.

Kerry later said that there were still "very difficult issues" surrounding Davis' legal situation but that several options remained. The senator expressed hope that things will be worked out.

If the dispute continues to fester, it could set back gains the U.S. has claimed in rebuilding trust for Pakistan's military and in winning that country's cooperation in going after al-Qaida and other militants inside the country. The standoff could also threaten billions in U.S. aid.

Also hovering in the background: the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, given the apparent lack of influence of the fledgling central government.

The controversy is the latest in a series of recent setbacks in U.S-Pakistani relations and underscores growing friction between the CIA and its Pakistani counterpart, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, commonly known as ISI.

"It certainly complicates relations between the U.S. and Pakistan," said Mark Quarterman, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. "This is an issue that has dominated the headlines and political discourse in Pakistan since the shootings."

In particular, U.S. drone strikes inside Pakistan, which have claimed civilian casualties, are "very unpopular among the Pakistani people," who generally think the government has already acquiesced too much in cooperating with the U.S., he said.

"A relationship that has been strained at times anyway was just sent into a tailspin by the Raymond Davis incident," said Quarterman, who headed a United Nations technical team that helped investigate the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Analysts in both the United States and Pakistan said that the ruling Pakistan People's Party is weak to begin with and that the shooting raises new questions about its ties to Washington and its very stability.

It has only been three years since the party's electoral victories restored civilian democracy after nearly a decade of military rule, and the government is still struggling to get its footing.

"On the one hand, the government wants to please the Americans and bow down to their wishes," said Talat Masood, a Pakistani political and military expert. "On the other hand, it wants to tell the Pakistani people it is not giving in to U.S. pressure."

Previously, the administration had identified Davis as simply "a diplomat." U.S. officials have said he was in Pakistan on a diplomatic passport.

The Associated Press and several other news organizations 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.

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 newspaper of London.

He was working as a CIA security contractor - essentially a bodyguard - and living in a safe house in Lahore, according to former and current U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to talk publicly about the incident.

There are hundreds of CIA employees on the ground in Pakistan, which is one of the agency's biggest stations. Davis' arrest raised concerns about their safety.

Davis, a former Special Forces soldier who left the military in 2003, was arrested Jan. 27 in connection with the fatal shooting of two armed men. Davis said he was defending himself against what he described as an attempted armed robbery as the men approached him on a motorcycle. A third Pakistani, a bystander, died when he was struck by an American consulate vehicle rushing to rescue Davis.

The two men in the response car have since left the country in what has been described by the Pakistanis as a concession to the U.S. Davis was carrying a Glock handgun, a pocket telescope and papers with different identifications.

The State Department maintains that Davis is an accredited member of the technical and administrative staff of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. U.S. officials said that 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.

Under international law, diplomats are extended a degree of immunity from criminal prosecution in the countries where they are posted.

U.S. lawmakers have raised the possibility of cutting off U.S. aid to Pakistan if it continues to hold Davis. Earlier this month, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., and Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., bluntly told senior Pakistani officials during a trip to the country about the ramifications of their actions.

"I think it is imperative that they release him," Kline told reporters at a news conference, adding there is certainly the possibility that there would be repercussions if they don't.

Associated Press writers Adam Goldman and Donna Cassata in Washington and Nahal Toosi in Islamabad contributed to this report.


So how are we to depend on our news being "fresh" and at least an attempt at truth? What is this? How is this any different than under GWB? Are we to depend more and more on international news and ignore more and more US news?

Raymond Davis’ Work(s) “with” the CIA
By: emptywheel Monday February 21, 2011 9:52 am

After the Guardian confirmed for the Anglo-American world what the rest of the world had already concluded–that Raymond Davis is some kind of spook --

(THEN at last many days after the crime and arrest)--

-- the government gave the American outlets that have been sitting on this knowledge the go-ahead to publish it.

The New York Times had agreed to temporarily withhold information about Mr. Davis’s ties to the agency at the request of the Obama administration, which argued that disclosure of his specific job would put his life at risk. Several foreign news organizations have disclosed some aspects of Mr. Davis’s work with the C.I.A., and on Monday, American officials lifted their request to withhold publication.

Yet even though the NYT claims they have been cleared by the government to describe Davis’ “specific job,” the article does no such thing.

Note how none of the usages in the story make it clear whether Davis works for the CIA, for Blackwater, for his own contracting company, or for JSOC:

The American arrested in Pakistan after shooting two men at a crowded traffic stop was part of a covert, C.I.A.-led team of operatives conducting surveillance on militant groups deep inside the country, according to American government officials.


carried out scouting and other reconnaissance missions for a Central Intelligence Agency task force


Mr. Davis has worked for years as a C.I.A. contractor, including time at Blackwater Worldwide, the controversial private security firm (now called Xe)


The officials gave various accounts of the makeup of the covert task force and of Mr. Davis, who at the time of his arrest was carrying a Glock pistol, a long-range wireless set, a small telescope and a headlamp. An American and a Pakistani official said in interviews that operatives from the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command had been assigned to the group to help with the surveillance missions. Other American officials, however, said that no military personnel were involved with the task force.


Even before his arrest, Mr. Davis’s C.I.A. affiliation was known to Pakistani authorities, who keep close tabs on the movements of Americans.


American officials said that with Pakistan’s government trying to clamp down on the increasing flow of Central Intelligence Agency officers and contractors trying to gain entry to Pakistan, more of these operatives have been granted “cover” as embassy employees and given diplomatic passports.


American officials said he operated as part of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Global Response Service in various parts of the country, including Lahore and Peshawar.


It is unclear when Mr. Davis began working for the C.I.A., but American officials said that in recent years he worked for the spy agency as a Blackwater contractor and later founded his own small company, Hyperion Protective Services. [my emphasis]

This article leaves open every single possibility–CIA, Blackwater, other contractor, JSOC–with the least likely being that Davis is an employee of the CIA (not least because according to the Pakistanis he makes $200,000). Though the article does make it clear we’re now extending official cover to contractors.

The most likely, I’d guess, is that we’re using Blackwater to employ JSOC folks to get around legal niceties.

Now, the difference is pretty important, to both the Pakistanis and us. As the article makes clear, the military isn’t really supposed to be in Pakistan. We’re not at war with Pakistan, after all, at least not as far as Congress has declared.

And Americans are going to care a whole lot more if it is confirmed that another Blackwater cowboy has inflamed our relations with an ally by shooting off his guns wildly and killing the locals. We were supposed to have learned our lesson about Blackwater in Nisour Square.

Hell, I’m pretty cranky about this confirmation that we’re giving official cover to contractors in the first place, given that it exposes us to just this kind of diplomatic problem.

Now, frankly, I’m all in favor of protecting CIA officers’ identities when they are unknown. But just about everyone in Pakistan already knew Davis is a spook. The NYT’s continued silence on that fact doesn’t serve to protect Davis; it only makes the paper complicit in the government keeping secrets from us, from its own citizens.

And it appears that the NYT is still engaged in such complicity by refusing to clarify precisely who employed Davis and whether in doing so our government is engaging in illegal war or continuing to employ the same old problematic contractors.

I guess it’s a whole lot easier to confirm someone is CIA when doing so distracts attention from the fact that he’s probably something more embarrassing still.

Update: The WSJ, without admitting it too has been sitting on Davis’ CIA affiliation, tells a different story. It says this guy with a camera full of pictures, a phone full of tribal area phone numbers, and a GPS is just a simple protective officer.

U.S.officials say Mr. Davis, who has been held in the eastern city of Lahore since late January, was on a short-term contract as a protective officer, responsible for providing security to officials with the CIA and other agencies in the country.

“Rumors to the contrary are simply wrong,” a U.S. official said of Pakistani claims that Mr. Davis was directly involved in intelligence gathering operations.

And it quotes an ISI officer claiming they didn’t know that Davis was a spook.

A senior official with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, said Pakistan was not aware that Mr. Davis was working for the CIA and believes the U.S. could be using undeclared operatives as a way of circumventing visa restrictions imposed by Islamabad on the U.S. spy agency.

“We didn’t even know about him,” the ISI official said. “We don’t know how many Raymond Davises there could be running around.”

Well, if the idea behind lifting the request that newspapers withhold details was to confuse the issue, then the government and its compliant newspaper friends have succeeded!

Update: See how exact the ISI can be as compared to Americans?

But an official from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) told AFP Monday that Davis was working for the CIA.

“He’s on contract. He’s not a regular CIA guy, but he’s working for CIA. That’s confirmed,” the official said.

Or maybe the AFP just feels less obligation to tell the American people what the government wants us to hear?

Update: The WaPo’s Greg Miller seems to get it right (though he admits WaPo sat on this too).

The American who fatally shot two men in Pakistan last month and who has been described publicly as a diplomat is a security contractor for the CIA who was part of a secret agency team operating out of a safe house in Lahore, U.S. officials said.


But in fact Davis has spent much of the past two years working as part of a group of covert CIA operatives, whose mission appears to have centered on conducting surveillance of militant groups in large cities including Lahore.


Current and former U.S. officials said that Davis had previously been employed by the sprawling security firm once known as Blackwater. A spokeswoman for the company, now known as Xe Services, did not respond to a request for comment.

SEE the original posting and 62 Responses to “Raymond Davis’ Work “with” the CIA”

Also find Related Posts at this site:

•“Consular Employee” Charged with Murder in Pakistan January 28, 2011
•Raymond Davis: Diplomatic Immunity v. US Impunity February 21, 2011
•Lindsey Graham Calls Raymond Davis an “Agent” February 18, 2011
•Spy v. Spy: Unmasked? February 20, 2011
•State Department Secrecy: What a Bunch of Crap! January 10, 2011

Here's just a sampler from the comments:

MadDog February 21st, 2011 at 9:56 am 1…This article leaves open every single possibility–CIA, Blackwater, other contractor, JSOC–with the least likely being that Davis is an employee of the CIA (not least because according to the Pakistanis he makes $200,000)…

Second least likely is active duty military so I think JSOC is out as well.

Unless JSOC is running contractors which would be news as well.

MadDog February 21st, 2011 at 9:58 am 2In response to MadDog @ 1
Of course, this part of the NYT piece leaves the JSOC thingy kind of up in the air:

…An American and a Pakistani official said in interviews that operatives from the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command had been assigned to the group to help with the surveillance missions. Other American officials, however, said that no military personnel were involved with the task force.

Special operations troops routinely work with the C.I.A. in Pakistan. Among other things, they helped the agency pinpoint the location of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the deputy Taliban commander who was arrested in January 2010 in Karachi…

earlofhuntingdon February 21st, 2011 at 10:02 am 3 I agree that the Guardian is a tad over the top with its sole-source confirmation about Davis’ role. Pakistani intelligence was embarrassed by these killings and quite possibly by Davis’ work, not to mention that as an intelligence agency, its record for public truthtelling ought to be suspect. And the Guardian should have caveated its “confirmation” with just those observations.

Illegal wars, spies as diplomats, overpaid contractors substituting for spies, overpaid outsourced contractors subbing for military spec ops in a country we’re not at war with, which we consider an ally in our misguided but hugely expensive imperial ops in Afghanistan. None of that seems news “worth fit to print”.

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readerOfTeaLeaves February 21st, 2011 at 10:06 am 4Hell, I’m pretty cranky about this confirmation that we’re giving official cover to contractors in the first place, given that it exposes us to just this kind of diplomatic problem.


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MadDog February 21st, 2011 at 10:10 am 5In response to readerOfTeaLeaves @ 4
FUBAR, meet “waiting to happen”.

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SaltinWound February 21st, 2011 at 10:15 am 6Reconnaissance and surveillance sound sort of benign until you take into account that we use drones. Is there any chance he was involved in choosing targets? if so, the motivation of his ambushers becomes more clear.

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MadDog February 21st, 2011 at 10:19 am 7…Update: The WSJ, without admitting it too has been sitting on Davis’ CIA affiliation, tells a different story. It says this guy with a camera full of pictures, a phone full of tribal area phone numbers, and a GPS is just a simple protective officer…

You missed the infrared headlamp. I suppose one could use that for finding one’s d*ck in the dark. *g*

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MadDog February 21st, 2011 at 10:23 am 8And the WaPo’s Greg Miller jumps in as well:

U.S. officials: Raymond Davis, accused in Pakistan shootings, worked for CIA

…At the time of his arrest, Davis was based at a house with five other CIA contractors as well as a former agency staff officer who had returned to work for the spy service for the assignment in Pakistan, a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The official said the impact of the disclosure that Davis is a CIA employee “will be serious.”

“I think it’s going to make it a hell of a lot harder to get him out,” said the official. “I think ISI knows what this guy is, but I think this is just going to inflame the Pakistanis…”

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PJEvans February 21st, 2011 at 10:25 am 9In response to MadDog @ 7
The WSJ might be able to use the IR headgear and the GPS to find its own ass.

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MadDog February 21st, 2011 at 10:28 am 10…Update: The WaPo’s Greg Miller seems to get it right (though he admits WaPo sat on this too)…

Except these 2 parts seem to be contradictory:

…But in fact Davis has spent much of the past two years working as part of a group of covert CIA operatives, whose mission appears to have centered on conducting surveillance of militant groups in large cities including Lahore…

Versus this in the very same article:

…But even while shedding new light on the circumstances of his detention, U.S. officials continued to provide scant information about his assignment. A former member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, Davis was hired as a contract employee of the CIA’s Global Response Staff, a unit that is responsible for providing security for agency employees and facilities in other countries…

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MadDog February 21st, 2011 at 10:38 am 11And some more from ABC News:

Raymond Davis Is CIA Contractor and Former Blackwater, U.S. Officials Say

…Davis and a group of fellow security officers lived in a safehouse in Lahore. The CIA keeps safehouses for security personnel in an effort to limit the ability for militants to track their movements, the intelligence contractor said.

On Jan. 27, Davis left the safehouse and conducted an “area familiarization route,” according to the senior U.S. official. He drove through various Lahore neighborhoods for several hours. It was during his route, two U.S. officials say, that Davis stopped at an A.T.M. and possibly drew the attention of two Pakistani men on a motorcycle…

…Davis has told the police in Lahore that the two men were attempting to rob him when he fired several rounds from his Glock handgun hitting them both. Davis fired multiple rounds from inside his car, killing one man in the street, while the second died later from his injuries.

Davis then called for help from several other CIA security officers who shared his Lahore safehouse, according to the U.S. official and the intelligence consultant. As they arrived near the intersection, they accidentally hit a Pakistani bicyclist, the two officials said. The bicyclist later died of his injuries. Davis’ colleagues were unable to get to Davis before the police arrested him. They left the scene and returned to their safehouse.

Within hours, they had destroyed all government documents at the safehouse, abandoned it, and retreated to the US consulate for safety. Both have since returned to the US, according to a senior U.S. official briefed on the case…

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emptywheel February 21st, 2011 at 10:40 am 12In response to MadDog @ 1
JSOC does work with contractors: both work w/BW.

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MadDog February 21st, 2011 at 10:41 am 13In response to MadDog @ 11
And this tidbit from page 3 of the ABC News piece boggles the mind:

…According to a senior US official, Davis first arrived in Pakistan in December 2008, and was posted at various times in Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar. Until last August, Davis was stationed in Pakistan as an employee of the company once known as Blackwater, now called Xe Services, and contracted to the CIA.

According to a former Blackwater executive, the CIA terminated the company’s GRS contract in Pakistan, accusing the security company of failing to provide adequate services. The agency then moved to hire all the former Xe/Blackwater security personnel directly as independent contractors…

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MadDog February 21st, 2011 at 10:42 am 14In response to emptywheel @ 12
Yeah but…but…but… *g*

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emptywheel February 21st, 2011 at 10:46 am 15In response to earlofhuntingdon @ 3
It’s not clear that it’s sole source. It appears there may be two Pakistani sources, plus an interview in the US which may or may not be a Pakistani source (though it’s possible Sanaullah is the “senior Pakistani intell official”):

Based on interviews in the US and Pakistan, the Guardian can confirm that the 36-year-old former special forces soldier is employed by the CIA. “It’s beyond a shadow of a doubt,” said a senior Pakistani intelligence official. The revelation may complicate American efforts to free Davis, who insists he was acting in self-defence against a pair of suspected robbers, who were both carrying guns.


“This is not the work of a diplomat. He was doing espionage and surveillance activities,” said the Punjab law minister, Rana Sanaullah, adding he had “confirmation” that Davis was a CIA employee.

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MadDog February 21st, 2011 at 10:47 am 16Mark Hosenball over at Reuters has this:

American held in Pakistan is CIA contractor: U.S. sources

…U.S. officials who declined to be identified told Reuters Davis’ duties as a protective officer — essentially a bodyguard — were to provide physical security to U.S. Embassy and consular officers, as well as visiting American dignitaries.

The officials strongly denied news reports alleging Davis was part of a covert CIA-led team of operatives conducting surveillance on militant groups in Pakistan. The officials insisted Davis was not part of any undercover operations team…

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emptywheel February 21st, 2011 at 10:48 am 17In response to MadDog @ 10
Fair enough. I wonder whether they’re being hired as protective to hide the fact that they’re doing the spooking?

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MadDog February 21st, 2011 at 10:53 am 18In response to emptywheel @ 17
I was thinking the very same thing.

As if the Global Response Staff was itself a cover and/or if that was the only way the CIA/JSOC could get more of their bodies into Pakistan because the Pakistanis were trying to limit CIA/JSOC headcount.

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Mary February 21st, 2011 at 11:01 am 19You know, I question all of it. You can make a case for almost any of it – CIA deputy/acting, military black ops, or contractor. In some ways, he might have been “more eligible” for being put on as a “diplomat” than if he was a military attache or a CIA, bc there were probably standing agreements on those kinds of categories and how they were going to be handled.

I’m not sure I believe ISI’s public statement that they didn’t know anything about him, since they refused to recognize him when he was on the Jan 20th submission from State to the Pakistan Foreign Ministry; since Qureshi has said that he was not entitled to immunity based on the briefings given to him (Quresthi) and since Dawn reported that Davis was arrested previously and only freed with consulate intervention.


A senior police officer told Dawn that Raymond David was among four people who were detained by security personnel near Lahores Sherpao Bridge on Dec 9, 2009, when they were trying to enter the Cantonment area in a vehicle with tinted glasses. They were armed with sophisticated weapons. The intervention of the US consulate led to their release, the officer recalled

I think the degree to which Obama and Hillary and others are rattled smells more like him being a ranking CIA guy – but it could just be that he’s got a lot of intel and that’s why they are so rattled. Certainly, the Iranian hikers and civilians being mowed down and a plethora of other problems haven’t received the all out Obama press that this guy has.

Contractor is absolutely possible, but I’m not putting to bed the possibility of direct CIA with lots of cover yet either. Especially since it was after the Pak sources were naming him as acting/deputy station chief that all of a sudden everyone here in the US is clamoring that he’s a contractor and no one seems to really know if his name is even Raymond Davis – not such a usual thing for the state dept to be so uncertain about for a contractor.

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Gitcheegumee February 21st, 2011 at 11:04 am 20In response to MadDog @ 13
Just for the record, the Mumbai attacks were just one month earlier,on November 26,2008.

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emptywheel February 21st, 2011 at 11:07 am 21In response to Mary @ 19
Fair enough.

And I think we need no more evidence that ISI knew who he was than that he was being tracked by at least two guys who appear to have ISI ties themselves.

It’s not like they just thought he was cute, after all.

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emptywheel February 21st, 2011 at 11:09 am 22In response to MadDog @ 13
Huh. That is interesting.

Get rid of the BW ties before Obama takes over?

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MadDog February 21st, 2011 at 11:11 am 23In response to Mary @ 19
I’d agree that the idea of Davis being “covert” seems to be an oxymoron (yes, directly in line with the definitive oxymoron of “military intelligence”).

Just how does a white guy with a twenty-five inch neck and armed to the teeth plan on being “covert” in Pakistan?

Regardless of Davis’ real mission, having a bunch of armed US folks running around Pakistan was/is a recipe for disaster. Bound to happen!

What was the US government thinking (another oxymoron)?

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Gitcheegumee February 21st, 2011 at 11:11 am 24In response to Gitcheegumee @ 20
And if I may, I will repost an earlier comment from another thread:Here is an informative excerpt from a Scahill article,dated September 2010.

(It is a superior piece. Apologies if this has been previously linked elsewhere.)

The Nation has previously reported on Blackwater’s work for the CIA and JSOC in Pakistan. New documents reveal a history of activity relating to Pakistan by Blackwater. Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto worked with the company when she returned to Pakistan to campaign for the 2008 elections, according to the documents.

In October 2007, when media reports emerged that Bhutto had hired “American security,” senior Blackwater official Robert Richer wrote to company executives, “We need to watch this carefully from a number of angles. If our name surfaces, the Pakistani press reaction will be very important. How that plays through the Muslim world will also need tracking.” Richer wrote that “we should be prepared to [sic] a communique from an affiliate of Al-Qaida if our name surfaces (BW). That will impact the security profile.”

Clearly a word is missing in the e-mail or there is a typo that leaves unclear what Richer meant when he mentioned the Al Qaeda communiqué. Bhutto was assassinated two months later. Blackwater officials subsequently scheduled a meeting with her family representatives in Washington, in January 2008.

NOTE: The entire article is worth a read for additional background details.

Blackwater’s Black Ops | PKKH.tvSep 23, 2010… security cell where double murder accused Raymond Davis is … …. CIA officials Cofer Black and Robert Richer for “representation” to …
http://www.pakistankakhudahafiz.com › Feature – Cached

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MadDog February 21st, 2011 at 11:15 am 25In response to emptywheel @ 22
And Erik can then truthfully deny that Blackwater is running around with guns in Pakistan.

I took the termination of the Blackwater/XE contract as mere window-dressing (probably for Congress and perhaps wink-wink, Pakistan as well) since all the mercs were then hired directly by the US government as “independent contractors”.

Jeremy Scahill had this sucker nailed!

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PJEvans February 21st, 2011 at 11:16 am 26In response to MadDog @ 13
Yeah, that’s mind-boggling.
What kind of service were they expecting to get from people who had just been fired for not providing the kind of service they were being paid for?

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Mary February 21st, 2011 at 11:20 am 27I just have a squiffy feeling about the new take, coming as it does right as it was appearing that the old take that Davis is a diplomat entitled to diplomatic immunity as evidenced by the DIRECT PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT FROM OBAMA – is doomed to failure and will cause an uprising in Pakistan.

It opens up one of the best portals the US could have to resolve things – anger over contractors is huge, but more likely to be bought off with a blood money approach. It buys more deniabiliy on Davis’ actions – not CIA/Gov, but out of control contractor. It buys more distancing on any intel they might have picked up from Davis and minimizes him as a intel target.

I just have a hard time buying that Blackwater contractors are operating under such large cover, with a name that is a possible alias and a back company here in the US to point to as his personal security company. And that they would generate a direct plea from Obama – who has repeatedly shown he feels he owes the CIA and owes it big and will do about anything to keep it happy, but not so much any other entity like Blackwater.

The clamor of the press to this point makes it sound really spoon fed to me. But then again, I’m so cynical these days, I don’t believe in daylight when I see it.

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PJEvans February 21st, 2011 at 11:21 am 28In response to MadDog @ 11
You know, driving around town in for several hours in a vehicle that might have been Conspicuously Not Local isn’t too bright. Stopping at an ATM while you’re driving around is even less bright: you’d think he’d be aware of the (apparently very real) possibility of locals who are interested in acquiring whatever he’s carrying. (Also, you’d expect someone who works with the diplomatic people to have learned which parts of town are bad areas. It isn’t rocket science.)

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marc February 21st, 2011 at 11:22 am 29When Blackwater/Xe was awarded the CIA’s Global Response Staff contract a few members of Congress and the public tried to complain that continuing to employ Blackwater was reckless and a diplomatic disaster waiting to happen. Leon Panetta brushed off those concerns claiming that Blackwater was a changed company and furthermore would not be involved directly in operations beyond providing security. Former Blackwater employees when asked about Panetta’s assertion that the CIA could prevent Blackwater’s former “high-speed, low drag” Special Ops veterans from taking an active and central role in any covert operation was laughable. So it seems Raymond Davis could have been hired as a protective officer and just expanded his duties with a wink and a nod from the Station Chief

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Gitcheegumee February 21st, 2011 at 11:25 am 30In response to PJEvans @ 28
You are reading my mind.

Wonder if there was evidence of ATM transaction…

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emptywheel February 21st, 2011 at 11:29 am 31In response to Mary @ 27
Well, one of the problems, though, is that Davis proves the point of those who have warned (I think Carl Levin was one) that our stance on enemy combatants is going to really fuck over our own combatants when they’re picked up in civilian clothing.

From that perspective, Davis is really much better off than we have treated Pakistani citizens caught in the same situation or not even that bad.

We’ve been pretending for years that our own hypocrisy on international law carries no dangers for our own people. And when it bites us in the ass, we expect we can push people around and –raise international law!?!?!?!?!– such that our own people won’t be treated like we treat enemy combatants.

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Mary February 21st, 2011 at 11:29 am 32In response to emptywheel @ 21
Some people are fascinated by plaid.

Not that I buy the foreign press stories either, but if he was a Blackwater/Xe guy, those reports would make him top of the line – they were indicating how well he spoke the languages, plural, that might come in handy and how well he knew local customs.

OTOH – wasn’t there just a report out that the same Armor guys are guarding Kabul, despite the lord of the flies parties?

I can definitely buy contractor, I just get immediately suspicious of a story that our own press sells so enthusiastically with so little acknowledged sourcing and all at the same time.

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Mary February 21st, 2011 at 11:33 am 33In response to emptywheel @ 31
Yes, no one’s being going to Goldsmith and Yoo to get them to explain how the Vienna Conventions, like their takes on the GCs, mean whatever the political process in Pakistan thinks they should mean; or how long Davis could just be “detained” forever as a national security risk/illegal enemy combatant and just what Pakistan should be able to do with him now. After all, he probably has “actionable intelligence” on drone attacks in Pakistan.

BTW – I haven’t read all the US reports, but are they also saying that the guys Kerry smuggled out were ex-Blackwater contractors too?

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Gitcheegumee February 21st, 2011 at 11:33 am 34In response to Gitcheegumee @ 30
Wonder if ATM’s in Pakistan have security cameras as they do here in US?

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MadDog February 21st, 2011 at 11:36 am 35In response to Mary @ 27
I’ll go even further than that Mary.

I’m astonished by the public US high-level muckety-muck involvement.

You mentioned Obama’s own public statement. Then there was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pleading to Pakistan, Senator John Kerry’s rush trip to Pakistan, and then Representative Darrell Issa & company’s Pakistan visit.

To me, this all seems to be an awful lot of public US government handwringing in relation to the “detainee”. I too, think there is more here than meets the eye.

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emptywheel February 21st, 2011 at 11:45 am 36In response to Mary @ 32
He sure hides his fluency if he is fluent when he’s questioned, though I might do that too if I were caught like that.

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Mary February 21st, 2011 at 11:55 am 37In response to MadDog @ 35
Particularly when it was such a high profile open wound in Pakistan. You have revolutions going on everywhere and a nuclear power teetering and you put that much pressure on it’s turbulent street over a contractor? Maybe – if what he has/knows would be even worse to have come out, but it seems oddd.

@36 – that’s why I take all the reports with a grain of salt. It’s not even as if there is just one ISI faction or just one Foreign Ministry faction or just one CIA faction or … so many different possiblities. I did enjoy seeing the Russians chime in, though. It made it seem like simpler times. And it gave them same oblique satisfaction for their little ring here and their guy collecting the Irish passports getting nailed.

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Gitcheegumee February 21st, 2011 at 12:25 pm 38O/T

Just a thank you to all here who provide me (and others) with an oasis of sanity and critical thinking.

I don’t have the time I once did for these endeavors, but I have sincerest appreciation for all the efforts by EW,bmaz et al.

A first class site with first rate thinkers.

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seacrow February 21st, 2011 at 12:26 pm 39Have a gander at this from rediff.com:

‘CIA spy’ Davis was passing nuke tech to Al Qaeda?
February 20, 2011 16:49 IST

Double murder-accused US official Raymond Davis has been found in possession of top-secret Central Intelligence Agency documents, which point to him or the feared American Task Force 373 (TF373) operating in the region, providing Al Qaeda [ Images ] terrorists with “nuclear fissile material” and “biological agents,” according to a report.

Russia’s [ Images ] Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) is warning that the situation on the sub-continent has turned “grave” as it appears that open warfare is about to break out between Pakistan and the United States, The European Union Times reports.

The SVR warned in its report that the apprehension of 36-year-old Davis, who shot dead two Pakistani men in Lahore [ Images ] last month, had fuelled this crisis.

According to the report, the combat skills exhibited by Davis, along with documentation taken from him after his arrest, prove that he is a member of US’ TF373 black operations unit currently operating in the Afghan War Theatre and Pakistan’s tribal areas, the paper said.

While the US insists that Davis is one of their diplomats, and the two men he killed were robbers, Pakistan says that the duo were ISI agents sent to follow him after it was discovered that he had been making contact with Al Qaeda, after his cell phone was tracked to the Waziristan tribal area bordering Afghanistan, the paper said.

The most ominous point in this SVR report is “Pakistan’s ISI stating that top-secret CIA documents found in Davis’s possession point to his, and/or TF373, providing to al Qaeda terrorists “nuclear fissile material” and “biological agents”, which they claim are to be used against the United States itself in order to ignite an all-out war in order to re-establish the West’s hegemony over a global economy that is warned is just months away from collapse,” the paper added
Source: ANI

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bmaz February 21st, 2011 at 1:14 pm 40In response to emptywheel @ 22
Get rid of the BW ties before Obama takes over?

In Pakistan, there was also that little problem regarding Blackwater and Bhutto. BW was a very bad name to the Paks.

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passepartout February 21st, 2011 at 3:59 pm 41As usual, the humanity of the situation gets lost in the talk of agency affiliations and body counts. Fortunately, Asia One News comes through with pathos and poignancy:

US national Raymond Davis contacted his family members back in American and talked with them for 12 minutes, reported a private TV channel Sunday.

Davis told them the situation and asked them to pray for his release. He said to his family members not to worry about him but only pray for him. He said, “I have committed a mistake, and I have realized it.”

After talking to his family members on the phone, Davis became sad and didn’t even eat chocolates and drinks the US Consulate sent for him.


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Raymond Davis February 21st, 2011 at 6:01 pm 42In response to PJEvans @ 9

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EternalVigilance February 21st, 2011 at 6:12 pm 43Note the WaPo openly admits it knew about Davis’ role as CIA operative and withheld that information from the public at the request of the Bush Obama Administration:

The Washington Post learned of Davis’s CIA affiliation after his arrest, but agreed not to publish the information at the request of senior U.S. intelligence officials, who cited concern for Davis’s safety if his true employment status were disclosed.

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kgb999 February 21st, 2011 at 6:15 pm 44In response to MadDog @ 1
Hasn’t it been confirmed that JSOC is running contractors?

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Knut February 21st, 2011 at 6:24 pm 45In response to Mary @ 19
I think you are onto something. If he was just an ordinary grunt they wouldn’t spend as much diplomatic capital as they have to get him out. He’s got something that’s worth something, and the Pakistani’s can sell it to the highest bidder.

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Knut February 21st, 2011 at 6:28 pm 46In response to emptywheel @ 21
One possibility that involves a red line. He was fingering ISI operations connected with the Taliban. It’s an open secret, but the details are what matter. Davies was getting into the details.

It will make a great action movie, whatever the truth.

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EternalVigilance February 21st, 2011 at 6:30 pm 47In response to seacrow @ 39
I have no illusions about the willingness of those who would kill millions to kill more, regardless of their nationality, but it seems that giving anyone outside the power group control of ABC material is silly. False flags are stock in trade for the U.S. government, so there’s no need to find an external actor – and there’s no reason to risk either the outside group using the material in places one wouldn’t prefer, or more importantly, botching the attack so the pretense for war is lost.

And if the world economy is collapsing, at some point a pretense for war becomes unnecessary. Though given the clockwork regularity (roughly every 20 years for the last century) with which false flags have been used to take the U.S. public into wars, it would be unusual to have it be so open.

That doesn’t mean I think yet another domestic false flag attack, possibly quite large, is unlikely – just that there’s no advantage to be gained by giving the means to execute it to people outside the government’s control, when the U.S. government can execute the same plan better itself.

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Knut February 21st, 2011 at 6:30 pm 48In response to emptywheel @ 31
For $200,000 a year, his nuts should be able to take a few dozen 210 volt hits.

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spanishinquisition February 21st, 2011 at 6:34 pm 49In response to MadDog @ 35
I thought it was coming out that he was the de facto station chief, which it wouldn’t surprise me there would be this kind of involvement for the CIA station chief in Pakistan, but they seem to be carrying it too far. This is going to have far-reach consequences both with the claim that Davis is entitled to immunity (as a contract spy) as well as the impact of the State department being so highly involved in spying…this makes what came out of Wikileaks look mild by comparison. I think the Obama administration is just totally winging it and haven’t considered the diplomatic consequences of what they are doing.

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kgb999 February 21st, 2011 at 6:40 pm 50In response to EternalVigilance @ 47
Since we’re down the path of complete speculation … what if this was just another entrapment set-up? You know. Like the FBI keeps doing here – attract folks and give them a bunch of ideas. Sell them the means to carry it out. And then nab them for the Teevees?

Nailing a “legitimate” WMD threat would be awesome coming into 2012.

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quanto February 21st, 2011 at 6:58 pm 51In response to MadDog @ 23
I was thinking the same thing, it would be like trying to hide Carrot Top in Harlem.

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quanto February 21st, 2011 at 7:19 pm 52in response to passepartout @41

After talking to his family members on the phone, Davis became sad and didn’t even eat chocolates and drinks the US Consulate sent for him.

After the U.S. Consulate requested the security cameras be removed I wouldn’t be eating or drinking anything they sent over.

I would think they have standing orders if you can’t get him out then take him out.

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trademarkdave February 21st, 2011 at 7:32 pm 53BTW, “Raymond Davis” is just one of this guy’s aliases. His real name is Jim Prideaux…

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EternalVigilance February 21st, 2011 at 7:40 pm 54In response to kgb999 @ 50
I don’t think I have much grounds for speculating on what might have really been going on, I just thought the one paragraph that suggested the U.S. might have been passing ABC material to Al Kaydee was simultaneously inflammatory and naive.

I don’t think a WMD-terrist connection to domestic electoral politics is necessary. It’s clear that both R’s and D’s work for the same people, so in the largest sense it doesn’t matter which group wins. The belief that change is possible by voting in one group or another is part of the con – so it would do us all well not to fall for it anymore.

It seems to me likely that Davis was connected to targeting groups to drone strike – which of course would also require developing relationships with those who would turn over their neighbors to the U.S., including not just tribal warlords in the mountains but also high-ranking officials in the government. The U.S would want to protect those resources and would not want their collaboration with the U.S. exposed.

And we haven’t discussed the possibility the reason the U.S. is sending Senators over to threaten and beg for Davis’ release wasn’t that he was working to overthrow the Taliban, but that he was working with the Taliban to overthrow the present government of Pakistan. A new government in Pakistan would make the U.S. domination of ME energy resources much easier.

Then again, Valerie Plame and her CIA front company, Brewster Jennings, were involved in tracking illicit proliferation of nukes in that part of the world, and it was their ability to monitor such trafficking that Cheney torched when he outed her, and that has me think there are also games afoot about who’s trying to sell what to whom that we don’t know anything about.

Once one starts to accept all present world governments are bad guys, with a common goal of keeping humanity enslaved, the specifics of who’s doing the chicken slaughtering on any given day become less important (though not to the chickens du jour, of course).

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TarheelDem February 21st, 2011 at 7:52 pm 55In response to emptywheel @ 17
“Protective” is a weasel word. It is easy to argue that someone involved in investigating what various militant groups are up to “protects” the Pakistani public and leadership. A blatant falsehood but easy to argue. It makes him sound like an overseas Secret Service sort of guy.

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texan99 February 21st, 2011 at 8:02 pm 56It was blindingly obvious he was a spook from the first reports of his having shot the two guys who were coming after him, while having some vague, unspecified connection to the embassy. He practically had “spook” written on his forehead.

Doesn’t change his diplomatic immunity.

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JamesJoyce February 21st, 2011 at 8:41 pm 57http://articles.latimes.com/1997-02-16/news/mn-29399_1_fatal-car-crash

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EternalVigilance February 21st, 2011 at 11:05 pm 58In response to texan99 @ 56
Doesn’t change his diplomatic immunity.

Indeed, he didn’t have any before and still doesn’t.

From the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963:

Article 41
Personal inviolability of consular officers

1.Consular officers shall not be liable to arrest or detention pending trial, except in the case of a
grave crime and pursuant to a decision by the competent judicial authority.

(emphasis added)

So even beyond the canard that Davis was a consular officer, a double killing is without question a grave crime.

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ondelette February 21st, 2011 at 11:05 pm 59This has all the earmarks of a fight between two spy agencies. People around the outside have lots of valid points to make, especially the Pakistanis about the difference between the way the U.S. wants to be treated and the way it treats people, but deep down, this is about the ISI and the CIA, and about their proxies. Only when it boiled over did it turn into something about the two countries and peoples themselves and their relations.

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kabuki101 February 22nd, 2011 at 12:06 am 60Davis worked for Xe. It’s in the Guardian.

How long before the Guardian website is blocked in the US? It cannot be long – seriously.

The volume of the lying, and conspiring being done by “official government” in this case is mind blowing. Davis should be tried like any other murder suspect. He is afforded ZERO protections by international treaties and law.

The US is completely lawless. The rule of law is gone for good in the US.

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bmaz February 22nd, 2011 at 3:09 am 61In response to EternalVigilance @ 58
But they are arguing he is first tier diplomatic official under Vienna Convention 1961.

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whattheincorporated February 22nd, 2011 at 5:49 am 62If he’s blackwater, [edited by moderator]

[Mod Note: Please do not wish or suggest violence against anyone. Thanks.]

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emptywheelemptywheel @JonWalkerDC Well, someone's got to go to jail. I mean, if Angelo Mozilo isn't going to be sent to jail, someone's got to keep them full.
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emptywheel @jeremyscahill What a surprise, once again the reporting they said you were nuts about turns out to be correct.
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