Raymond Davis, the U.S. embassy worker at the center of an international incident with Pakistan, was employed by the CIA, CBS News has confirmed. It is unclear whether Davis was a contractor for the agency or a full-time employee. He was allegedly part of a secret CIA team based in Lahore, Pakistan, conducting surveillance on militant groups in the area.
On Jan. 27, Davis shot and killed two armed Pakistani men in Lahore. He stated that they were trying to rob him and that his life was in danger. The United States has maintained that as an embassy worker (he has been described by U.S. authorities as a member of the administrative and technical staff of the U.S. embassy) Davis should have diplomatic immunity and be released from Pakistani custody.
A U.S. official said Monday that Davis has been moved to a separate part of Kot Lakhpat jail, which holds about 4,000 mostly militant inmates, and that his guards have been stripped of their weapons to lessen the chance that he could be killed while incarcerated.
"The Pakistanis have a solemn obligation to protect Ray Davis," said a U.S official. " If they're not going to release him--which they certainly should based on his diplomatic immunity--surely they can find a safer place for him.
"Davis is a protective officer, someone who provides security to U.S. officials in Pakistan. Rumors to the contrary are simply wrong."
Davis's duties included providing security to agency stations and bases as part of the CIA's Global Response Staff.
News of Davis's CIA affiliation was first published on in the Guardian on Sunday. News organizations in the West, including CBS News, were asked to hold off on publishing the information by the Obama administration as U.S. officials were concerned about Davis's safety if outed as a CIA employee.
Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) met with Pakistan officials last week in an attempt to get Davis released from jail in Lahore, but a Pakistani court decreed that the government could have until March 14 to rule on whether Davis should be prosecuted under Pakistani law or released per the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
"If indeed this is a case where a CIA operative was involved in the killings that have caused the worst setback to U.S.-Pakistan relations, the stakes could be very high," said a Western defense official who spoke to CBS News on condition of anonymity. "For long, most Pakistanis have not trusted the U.S. in general and the CIA in particular. Confirmation of Raymond Davis' links to the CIA will only further increase popular opposition to close U.S.-Pakistan relations," the official said.
A Pakistani official who also spoke to CBS News on condition of anonymity said confirmation of Davis's links to the CIA may only increase the confusion surrounding his case and make it even more difficult for the U.S. and Pakistan to quietly resolve it. "The CIA's legacy of using drones in Pakistan does not endear this agency to Pakistanis," the Pakistani official said.
Both Pakistani and U.S. officials are concerned about violent reactions from the Taliban and overall anti-American protests if Davis is released and not tried on murder charges. At the same time, the Pakistani government is concerned about the billions in aid that the U.S. provides to the country, but the U.S. also needs Pakistan's cooperation to conduct its war on terrorism.
Farhan Bokhari in Islamabad contributed to this story