Pak fully aware of held American’s CIA antecedents

February 22nd, 2011 - 12:30 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington/Islamabad, Feb.22 (ANI): Even before Pakistani authorities arrested Raymond A. Davis, a retired Special Forces soldier, his affiliation with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was known to authorities in Islamabad.

According to the New York Times, Pakistani authorities have always kept close tabs on the movements of Americans in their country, and the case of Davis was no different.

His visa, presented to the Pakistan Foreign Office in late 2009 describes his job as a “regional affairs officer,” a common job description for officials working with the CIA.According to that application, Davis carried an American diplomatic passport and was listed as “administrative and technical staff,” a category that typically grants diplomatic immunity to its holder.

Several American and Pakistani officials said that the C.I.A. team with which Davis worked in Lahore was tasked with tracking the movements of various Pakistani militant groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, a particularly violent group that Pakistan uses as a proxy force against India, but one that the United States considers a threat to allied troops in Afghanistan.

For the Pakistanis, such spying inside their country is an extremely delicate issue, particularly since the Lashkar has longstanding ties to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Still, American and Pakistani officials use Lahore as a base of operations to investigate the militant groups and their madrasas in the surrounding area.

Documents released by Pakistan’s Foreign Office showed that Davis was paid 200,000 dollars a year, including travel expenses and insurance.

He is a native of rural southwest Virginia, described by those who know him as an unlikely figure to be at the center of international intrigue.

He grew up in Big Stone Gap, a small town named after the gap in the mountains where the Powell River emerges.

The youngest of three children, Davis enlisted in the military after graduating from Powell Valley High School in 1993.His arrest and detention last month, which came after what American officials have described as a botched robbery attempt, have inadvertently pulled back the curtain on a web of covert American operations inside Pakistan, part of a secret war run by the C.I.A.

The episode has exacerbated already frayed relations between the CIA and the ISI, creating a political dilemma for the weak, pro-American Pakistani government, and further threatening the stability of the country, which has the world’s fastest growing nuclear arsenal.

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. (ANI)

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