Raymond Davis, an American charged with the shooting of two Pakistani men last month in Lahore, is a CIA agent who was on assignment at the time, the Guardian reports.
The shootings have created a diplomatic row within the already fragile alliance between America and Pakistan. The Obama administration has been insistent that Davis was a “administrative and technical official” attached to the local consulate and entitled to diplomatic immunity, but Pakistani law enforcement officials have charged Davis with murder anyway.
One senior Pakistani intelligence official told the Guardian “It’s beyond a shadow of a doubt” that Davis is an American spy.
Davis insists he was acting in self-defense when he killed two suspected robbers, but Pakistani police say he overreacted. “It went way beyond what we define as self-defense. It was not commensurate with the threat,” one police investigator told the Guardian.
Obama has referred to Davis as “our diplomat” and even went so far as to send Senator John Kerry to negotiate for his release. Kerry was unsuccessful.
An American vehicle coming to Davis’ aid apparently killed a third Pakistani man, further inflaming public opinion in the country. Pakistani officials demanded an interview with the two Americans in the vehicle, only to be informed that they had already returned to the United States.
Several American news outlets have reportedly learned of Davis’ true identity but did not report it under pressure from the Obama administration. A local news station in Colorado, 9News, became aware that Davis was a CIA agent after interviewing his wife. They reported the information on their website, but later removed any mention of the CIA after they received a request from the government. “Because of the safety concerns, we decided to amend the story,” 9News executive producer Nicole Vap told the Guardian. “But it remains accurate.”
Pakistan says that Davis is safe in custody and receiving visitors for the local U.S. consulate. “All measures for his security have been taken,” said one Pakistani intelligence official. “He’s as safe as can be.”