Ten Facts About C.I.A. Contractor Raymond Davis

By Kazim Alam

Raymond Davis -- Photo Courtesy: AFP

Raymond Davis is a U.S. national who shot dead two Pakistani citizens in Lahore, Pakistan, on January 27.

Immediately after the shooting incident, the Pakistani media labeled him as a “double-murderer” and rejected the self-defense and diplomatic immunity arguments put forward by the U.S. government.

1. What was the official U.S. response to his arrest?

The initial response of the U.S. government was that Davis was a diplomat and, therefore, enjoyed immunity. Later on, it changed its position and claimed that Davis actually worked for the U.S. embassy in Islamabad as a “technical adviser” — a position that doesn’t enjoy immunity under international laws.

2. What was rumored about the identity of the shooting victims?

A few commentators in the Pakistani press claimed that the young men “chasing” Davis in a crowded market in Lahore actually belonged to the ISI, the intelligence agency of Pakistan. They believed that Davis acted in self-defense and the issue gained extensive coverage only because the ISI wanted to teach America a lesson for killing its men.

3. What diplomatic efforts did the U.S. government make to get Davis released?

Initially the U.S. embassy in Islamabad tried to handle the situation. But it failed to control the anger against the United States.

President Obama sent Senator John Kerry to Pakistan. He couldn’t resolve the matter either.

President Obama, then, publicly asked the Pakistan government to “honor the immunity for our diplomat.”

Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman also called for the release of Davis on immunity grounds. “He’s an employee of the U.S. embassy. He has diplomatic immunity,” Lieberman said.

4. What was the take of the Pakistan government on the issue?

From day one, the civilian government said the matter would be settled in a court of law. The Foreign Office of Pakistan said Davis did not enjoy diplomatic immunity.

5. What did Davis say about himself when the police took him into custody?

A video clip, which Davis recorded using apparently a secret camera stuck on his belt, showed him telling the police that he was a “technical adviser” at the U.S. consulate in Lahore.

6. What was the reaction of his wife?

Rebecca Davis claimed on TV that her husband was not a “Rambo” and that she was confident he would soon return to the United States safely.

7. Who established first that Davis indeed had a C.I.A. connection?

The Guardian of the United Kingdom blew the cover of Davis on Sunday, Feb. 20. In another report several days later, it said the C.I.A. had requested it to keep the identity of Davis under wraps. The Guardian declined the request.

Next day (Feb. 21), The New York Times published a story which claimed that its editors knew since the beginning about the intelligence connection of Davis and that it withheld this information at the request of the C.I.A.

8. Was there any “underhand” wheeling and dealing between the U.S. and Pakistani military leaderships?

The Foreign Policy magazine, as well as Stars and Stripes, the official newspaper of the U.S. military, published a story on Feb. 24 claiming that the military leaders of the United States and Pakistan met at a beach resort in Muscat, Oman, and held “secret talks” to “plot a course out of the diplomatic crisis that threatens the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.”

The U.S. side included Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and Commander of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Gen. David Petraeus. Pakistan’s team was led by Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

9. What “deal” did the U.S. government strike with the family of the two Pakistanis who Davis killed?

The two affected families received over $ 1.5 million each. The deal was struck according to the “blood money” law of Islamic jurisprudence (under which the affected family can pardon the killer and take money instead), with US citizenship for “a dozen or more” members of each family and job guarantees for adults, and education opportunities for children, here in the United States.

Davis was released on March 16.

10. Has there been any “political casualties” in Pakistan in the wake of the Davis affair?

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said vociferously in a press conference on Feb. 16 that Davis didn’t enjoy diplomatic immunity and should be treated as any other accused murderer. He lost his ministry in a “cabinet reshuffle.”

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