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23-02-11 Arrest of CIA Agent Sheds Light on American Covert War in Pakistan

23-02-11 Arrest of CIA Agent Sheds Light on American Covert War in Pakistan

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Published by William J Greenberg
Arrest of CIA Agent Sheds Light on American Covert War in Pakistan, Straining U.S.Pakistani Relations

U.S. officials have admitted an American detained in Pakistan for the murder of two men was a CIA agent and a former employee of the private security firm Blackwater, now called Xe Services. Up until Monday, the Obama administration had insisted Raymond Davis was a diplomat who had acted in self-defense. The arrest of Davis has soured relations between the United States and Pakistan and revealed
Arrest of CIA Agent Sheds Light on American Covert War in Pakistan, Straining U.S.Pakistani Relations

U.S. officials have admitted an American detained in Pakistan for the murder of two men was a CIA agent and a former employee of the private security firm Blackwater, now called Xe Services. Up until Monday, the Obama administration had insisted Raymond Davis was a diplomat who had acted in self-defense. The arrest of Davis has soured relations between the United States and Pakistan and revealed

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Published by: William J Greenberg on Feb 27, 2011
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 Arrest of CIA Agent Sheds Light on American Covert War in Pakistan, Straining U.S.-Pakistani Relations
U.S. officials have admitted an American detained in Pakistan for the murder of two men was aCIA agent and a former employee of the private security firm Blackwater, now called XeServices. Up until Monday, the Obama administration had insisted Raymond Davis was adiplomat who had acted in self-defense. The arrest of Davis has soured relations between theUnited States and Pakistan and revealed a web of covert U.S. operations inside the country, partof a secret war run by the C.I.A.
The Guardian
of London first reported Davis’s CIA link onSunday and noted that many U.S. news outlets knew about his connection to the CIA but did notreport on it at the request of U.S. officials. We speak with Declan Walsh, the Pakistancorrespondent for 
The Guardian
, who first broke the story. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN:
U.S. officials have admitted an American detained in Pakistan for themurder of two men was a CIA agent and former employee of Blackwater, now called XeServices. That’s X-E. Up until Monday, the Obama administration insisted Raymond Davis wasa diplomat who had acted in self-defense.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
With respect to Mr. Davis, our diplomat in Pakistan, we’vegot a very simple principle here that every country in the world that is party to the ViennaConvention on Diplomatic Relations has upheld in the past and should uphold in the future, andthat is, if our diplomats are in another country, then they are not subject to that country’s localprosecution.
AMY GOODMAN:
The arrest of Raymond Davis has soured relations between the U.S. andPakistan and revealed a web of covert American operations inside the country, part of a secretwar run by the CIA. Public anger in Pakistan is widespread, was inflamed when one of thevictim’s wives committed suicide, saying she feared her husband’s killer would be freed withouttrial.
 
The Guardian
newspaper in London first reported Raymond Davis’s CIA link on Sunday. Thepaper added that many U.S. news outlets, including the
New York Times
, knew about Davis’sconnection to the CIA but did not report on it at the request of U.S. officials who said they fearedfor his safety. The
New York Times
, the
Washington Post 
, Associated Press, other media outletssubsequently confirmed the CIA link and admitted to withholding the story.To discuss the details of the case, we’re joined by Declan Walsh via Skype from Lahore,Pakistan. Declan, the Pakistan correspondent for 
The Guardian
who first revealed RaymondDavis’s link to the CIA.Just lay out the significance of this story and how big it is in Pakistan, Declan.
DECLAN WALSH:
Well, Amy, really, this is the story that has absolutely dominated theheadlines here in Pakistan ever since this slightly mysterious shooting incident occurred onJanuary 27th. Initially the focus was pretty much on the details of what actually happened whenRaymond Davis opened fire on these two men. But there was always this strong feeling of suspicion about what exactly his role was and what type of diplomat he was, if he was someonewho was not not only armed with an illegal weapon but also someone who was able to use it soeffectively. Davis fired 10 shots, all of which hit the two people who were killed. And now,obviously, since the news has come out that Davis is indeed employed by the CIA, that has reallyjust added fuel to the fire here, and there have been street protests as well as pretty much blanketmedia coverage.
AMY GOODMAN:
Talk about the
New York Times
, AP,
Washington Post 
, going along with theObama administration, who told them not to reveal that he was CIA, that he was Blackwater, yet
The Guardian
in Britain decided to blow the cover.
DECLAN WALSH:
Well, I mean, I can’t speak for those other media organizations other thanwhat we reported in our own story, which was that we became aware, before we published, thatother news organizations in the U.S. had the same information we had and had decided towithhold it. And what I can say is that we engaged in discussions with the American government,with U.S. government officials, before publication, and they made the same case to us that weshouldn’t publish.And this case basically ran along two lines. Part of it was they said that this would greatlycomplicate their efforts to get Davis out. We felt that this was something thatthis was anargument that didn’t particularly apply to us, that, whether it made it harder or easier, our job wasour priorities lay elsewhere. But the second and potentially more serious argument they madewas that Davis’s life would be endangered if his employment status at the CIA was revealed, andspecifically that his life would be endangered at the jail where he’s currently being held. It’scalled Kot Lakhpat, in Lahore.

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