Pakistan frees CIA contractor Raymond Davis

Pakistan has freed Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor who shot and killed two Pakistanis in Lahore, after the US agreed to pay “blood money” to the families of those killed. Reuters reports:

A CIA contractor was acquitted of two murder charges and released by a Pakistani court on Wednesday after a deal to pay “blood money” to the victims’ families was reached, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told Reuters.

The deal, reached just hours after the contractor had been indicted, ends a long-simmering diplomatic standoff between Pakistan and the United States.

“The court first indicted him but the families later told court that they have accepted the blood money and they have pardoned him,” Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told Reuters.

“The court acquitted him in the murder case.”

Raymond Davis, 36, shot dead two Pakistanis in the eastern Punjab city of Lahore on January 27 after what he described as an attempted armed robbery. He said he acted in self-defense and the United States says he had diplomatic immunity and should have been immediately repatriated.

The US appears to have wasted no time in shuttling Davis out of Pakistan, according to Geo News:

A US air force plane carrying twelve men, perhaps including Raymond Davis took off at 4:45 PM from Lahore airport for Afghanistan, sources told Geo News.

While this will reduce some of the tensions that have built up between Pakistan and the US since the Davis affair began at the end of January, expect there to be serious repercussions inside Pakistan over his release. Pakistani nationalist and Islamist political parties, as well as the Taliban, have called for Davis’ head. The political groups will seize upon his release to characterize the government as a US stooge, and the Taliban most certainly will cite his release as justification for further terror attacks against the government, the military, and civilians alike.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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18 Comments

  • BB says:

    Beautifull political movement. Using the sharia law against the islamic extremist!

  • Villiger says:

    Bill, while i agree with you of possible fallout, remember this deal happened because of Kayani. So the Army will ensure that the LeT JuD etc will work to minimizing the strength of protest.
    The US certainly got away cheap. $1.4 million, i mean not even a million bucks a family! its a steal. And in these circumstances, one HAS to acknowledge the courage of the family to accept a financial settlement at all. Will the Pak Army provide them with lifetime security?
    What of the third man who was innocently run over?
    The other thing worth emphasising here is how the State Dept botched this whole thing up at the outset. You don’t send a CIA operative who is going to roam around with an automatic pistol because of the risks of his job, and whom you want to provide with diplomatic cover without ensuring you have followed every step in the idiot’s guide to the paperwork for full diplomatic visas/immunity.
    Finally, lets hope the CIA comes out stronger in its relationship with the ISI out of all this. But, i doubt it for the US and Pakistan are strange, very strange, bedfellows and patterns are hard to break. Ironically its the very things that the US despises about Pakistan that helped in Davis’s release–peace deals, Sharia and catch-n-release.

  • Spooky says:

    That was per family, not total. And the US apparantly didn’t pay, if Hillary is to be believed…which is questionable.

  • Charu says:

    The deal happened because of Kayani… and the impasse also happened because of Kayani, and that’s the beauty of it. Like it or not, the Pakistanis have perfected the art of the shakedown; be it small scale like with the Davis affair, or geopolitically as with the AfPak war. There was a report in the Washington Times that a leading unnamed Pakistani journalist admitted that NATO supply trucks were burned by the ISI to send us a message:
    //www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/nov/15/pakistan-bombshell/
    The attacks against U.S.-NATO supply lines through Pakistan, which have included the torching of scores of tanker trucks, were not the work of Taliban guerrillas; they all were the work of the ISI made to look like Taliban. The objective was to demonstrate the extent to which the United States is dependent on Pakistani security.

  • kp says:

    The real question comes when Pakistan finally makes a move on North Waziristan. The rumors are now flying that they’re getting ready for the move. More curious timing of course with the Davis release and an upping in the pace of drone strikes.

    Not that they’re connected, of course.

    I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during those negotiations. I wonder if they were at the usual diplomatic tone or at the “making clear the opposition, err, the Ally, knows what the consequences will be”. Or perhaps a combination of the two?

  • Charu says:

    Bill, I doubt that there will be any serious repercussions from the deal, because the entire drama was written, produced and enacted by the ISI/Pakistani military. The quid pro quo, left unsaid, is most certainly that the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, will not be on trial in New York. If you like, the American families who are suing the ISI over the Mumbai terrorist attacks will be made to accept our equivalent of “blood money” to drop their suit, just like the Pakistani relatives of the killed ISI operatives were made to by Pakistani military. It is brilliantly manufactured consent and a win-win for all; just like Secretary Clinton claiming with a straight face that we didn’t pay any ransom to the kidnappers. And in the meantime I watch nearly daily on the TV the faces of twenty year-old boys who died in the prime of their lives because of our Pakistani best-friends-forever.

  • Nic says:

    “Crime does not pay” or does it? CNN said “Punjab province law minister, Rana Sanaullah, said $2.34 million was paid to the legal heirs by the U.S. government. Sanaullah later said $1,169,500 was paid to 11 legal heirs of one victim and the same amount was paid to eight legal heirs of the others.”
    Lets assume that the 11 are all head of house holds and then lets run the numbers. $1,169,500 divided by 11 is $106,318. Air fare (business) is $8,000 to New York. Nice car $30,000. Down payment on the purchase of a bank repro house $50,000. Total $88,000 Cash remaining $18,000. Conclusion: for the two criminals, crime did not pay, they are dead. For the heirs, crime paid very well. If two or more are in the same family then BINGO!!

  • Villiger says:

    Spooky i expect your numbers are closer to the truth. As for who paid, well, there may be some legal reasons why the money was routed however it was.

  • Grim says:

    I hope that that was all that was paid. There could be another secret check to the GoP that the public will never know about. I am happy to get our guy back but to me it is still a win for shady Pakistan. There probably will still be some fallout though. The insurgency surely will still find some fault with the deal to justify attacking something. Maybe it will be mentioned in an AQ audio message in a few months. Regardless, we should have taken a firmer stance with the GoP. Now those family members can live like royalty in Pakistan for the rest of their lives. I hate the double-standards over in that region. We accidently kill a few people and it is the end of the world but when the Taliban wipe out over 30 innocent in a single attack, it is just the price for doing business.
    Grim

  • SB says:

    Either way, irrespective of what was paid and to whom, I am glad the man is going home. Am sure their will be a complete review of OpSec and related SOPs including paperwork for dip cover as needed.

  • Naresh C says:

    The two men who were killed belonged to ISI. They were pretending to be robbers and wanted some papers from Davis. They were too well connected to be robbers.

  • Mr T says:

    Whats the real story here? Were these men that were killed criminals? Were they tryign to rob him? Were they trying to kidnap him and perhaps toture and behead him? Were they Taliban? Or were they innocent people that just stopped at a traffic light on the way home from work and somehow scared the American who then overeacted?
    I see only one scenario where the victims families should get any money. Otherwise, if they were Taliban trying to do a kidnap, that money paid to their families will be used to kill other innocent people. What do you tell the families of those people?

  • Spooky says:

    There has been fallout and now the embassy and consulates are shuttering down, though for how long has not yet been specified.
    With this recent air strike recieving particular attention, that won’t help matters. Who knows, in the fog of war, it might be possible that we made a mistake and hit civvies…

  • kp says:

    //www.dawn.com/2011/03/18/blood-money-was-paid-by-s-arabia.html

    “Saudi Arabia is believed to have arranged the blood money that allowed CIA contractor Raymond Davis to go home after nearly two months in a Lahore jail, diplomatic sources told Dawn”

    Just bizzare. Another part of the internal Pak game.

    Regarding who the dead “robbers” were I think one bit of evidence is how the shooting happened: Davis fired from his seated driving position through the windscreen of the car. To respond like that (as a CIA op) he would have to be under immediate threat probably one of the two pointing or flashing weapon when stopped. It doesn’t look like a assassination attempt: that would be pull alongside or slightly behind then fire on the driver. So it was either robbery or a kidnap attempt.

    Clearly from the reports we’ve heard Davis believed these people weren’t just common street robbers (how common is street robber with a gun in Pakistan?) as he got out, verified that they were dead, then photographed and videoed them. More an action you would take if you thought they were OPFOR so you can ID them later.

    I suspect they were OPFOR or ISI (which might amount to the same thing).

  • kp says:

    More info here:

    //english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/03/2011317131348571552.html

    The events in question transpired on January 27. Davis was driving his car through a poor section of Lahore. He stopped at a crowded intersection. Two Pakistani men jumped off motorcycles and came towards him, with weapons drawn, according to American accounts of the incident. Davis opened fire with his Glock, killing them. He said he fired in self-defence, assuming they were trying to rob him. Pakistani authorities disputed this claim, saying the men were shot in the back and Davis got out of his car to take photographs of the bodies.

    The intrigue concerns the identities of the men Davis killed – and the nature of his mission. “Some suggest Davis was trying to document links between Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) and Lashkar-e-Taiba [the Army of the Pure], which would expose the ISI’s links to the Mumbai attacks [of 2008],” says Khan. The US and UN Security Council have designated Lashkar as an international terrorist organisation. In February, Leon Panetta, the CIA director, said the ISI-CIA relationship is one of the “most complicated” he has encountered during his time in intelligence. If Ray Davis was targeting Laskhkar or trying to establish links between it and Pakistani intelligence, that would be probably one of the most sensitive places to hit the ISI,” says Jeremy Scahill, the author and investigative journalist. In a US federal court in New York, a lawsuit was filed in 2010 against the ISI for backing the Mumbai attacks. Davis’s conclusions could have damaged more than the ISI’s public image. US tax dollars paid to Pakistani security forces under the auspices of fighting terrorism, not to mention a major financial settlement, could be at stake. Christine Fair, the Georgetown professor, says two high-level Pakistani officials told her that the men Davis killed were ISI agents tasked with following him. Davis worked out of a safe house in an obscure part of Lahore as part of a CIA cell investigating Lashkar, Fair says. “The CIA cooperates with the ISI on certain issues,” Fair says. “But these organisations also operate against each other. This is spy versus spy.”

  • Run'n'Gun says:

    That a boy, Raymond…Get back out there and get some!!… I’m still surprised they had such a white looking dude out there operating.

  • af weyn says:

    I remember an article in The News International (//www.thenews.com.pk/ ) a week or so after the shooting that asserted that “it was murder” because the two weapons found at the scene [from the deceased] had full clips but “neither weapon had a round in the chamber”.
    Somehow that story did not make it to the Western Press.
    Whatever one believes about this incident it is clear that Pakistan has many decisions to make about what path their Nation will follow. We should all pray that they will follow the straight path that will lead to peace.

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