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Posted at 3:10 PM ET, 01/27/2011

Lahore shootout: Spy rendezvous gone bad?

By Jeff Stein

A senior former U.S. diplomatic security agent suggested Thursday that the American involved in a fatal shootout in Lahore, Pakistan, was the victim of a spy meeting gone awry, not the target of a robbery or car-jacking attempt.

"It looks like an informant meet gone bad more than a car-jacking attempt,” said Fred Burton, a former deputy chief of the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service’s counter-terrorism division.

Early reports were sketchy. Many said the American, identified in the Pakistani press variously as Raymond David, or just “Davis,” had shot two armed men on a motorcycle “in self defense” as they approached his car in a robbery attempt. As the American sped away, another Pakistani on a motorcycle was killed, according to the reports.

[SATURDAY UDATE: Embassy officials have identified the man as Raymond A. Davis. A senior U.S. official quoted by The Post said Davis was a "permanent diplomat" who was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad as a security officer, a role the official described as "a guy who is in the protection of people."]

A Lahore police official earlier told The Post that “another U.S. vehicle was traveling with the sedan and that the American then fled the scene in that car. As it sped away, it hit a motorcyclist, killing him.”

Pakistan's GEO TV broadcast a photo of a broad-faced, 40-something man in a plaid shirt sitting in the back of a police car, who it identified as the American involved in the shootout.

According to Burton, who worked on several major terrorism cases in the 1980s and 1990s, the incident showed that David “had outstanding situational awareness to recognize the attack unfolding and shoot the other men.”

“It shows a high degree of firearms discipline and training,” Burton added. “Either the consulate employee's route was compromised by terrorist or criminal surveillance, or it's feasible he was set up in some sort of double-agent operation, if this wasn't a criminal motive.”

David was quickly apprehended and surrendered a Beretta pistol and three cell phones, according to local reports quoting police. He remains in custody.

No immediate explanation was given for David’s presence in Lahore’s Qartaba Chowk area, a mixed commercial and residential where two major roads meet.

“Even if U.S. officials are cleared of wrongdoing,” The Post correspondents reported, “the incident could be explosive in a nation where anti-American sentiment is strong. Some Pakistani news channels covering the episode raised the possibility that the Americans involved were employees of Blackwater, an American security contractor, now known as Xe Services, that is widely viewed in Pakistan as a sort of mercenary agency.”

By Jeff Stein  | January 27, 2011; 3:10 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy, Intelligence, Lawandcourts  
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Comments


> "Blackwater, an American security contractor, now known as Xe Services, that is widely viewed in Pakistan as a sort of mercenary agency.”

Now where would those silly Pakistanis ever get such an idea? Maybe because Blackwater hires out people to the USG who tote guns around and shoot people?

Posted by: TexLex | January 27, 2011 10:37 PM | Report abuse

here is how i see what happened. The gentleman had landed in pakistan 10 days ago. Seeing from US media and behind tall walls US counslate eyes, he was walking in bad lands of pakistan where cowboys kill each other and you bump in osama bin laden in a mall every other day. so acting like rambo was all too natural.

In actuality he has walked in one of the most well policed cities in south asia. Good look mr. Davis or whoever.

Posted by: reasonhasvoice | January 27, 2011 10:57 PM | Report abuse

They guys he killed were average individuals with no criminal history. And they were not professional killers, nor were they working for any authorities. I have seen the reports covering the victims' families.

This is a typical case of a paranoid and arrogant American who knows that he can have his way, even when he kills innocent individuals. First, the Pakistani media tried to spin and portrayed the motorcyclists as robbers -- that lie fell apart within hours. So, I guess we are going with the spy story now.

If a Pakistani had killed an American in the US, would he be punished under the US law or sent back to Pakistan? Double standards and hypocrisy abound.

--from Pakistan

Posted by: qalam11 | January 30, 2011 4:48 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I too have just finished reading a report from an Asian Bureau that the suspect "Raymond Davis" is employed by Xe Services - and NOT an employee of any U.S. Department, Division, or Agency. Also, can anyone confirm that the first event was the bicyclist being struck by the Land Cruiser that Raymond Davis was riding in? According to the report he was a passenger in a pink Land Cruiser license plate LZQ-6970 which first struck the bicyclist, then they attempted to flee and were pursued by multiple eyewitnesses including the two motorcyclist who were shot when they attempted to detain the small convoy for hit-and-run.

Posted by: DuaneAnthonyWebb | January 31, 2011 1:53 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I too have just finished reading a report from an Asian Bureau that the suspect "Raymond Davis" is employed by Xe Services - and NOT an employee of any U.S. Department, Division, or Agency. Also, can anyone confirm that the first event was the bicyclist being struck by the Land Cruiser that Raymond Davis was riding in? According to the report he was a passenger in a pink Land Cruiser license plate LZQ-6970 which first struck the bicyclist, then they attempted to flee and were pursued by multiple eyewitnesses including the two motorcyclist who were shot when they attempted to detain the small convoy for hit-and-run.

Posted by: DuaneAnthonyWebb | January 31, 2011 1:54 AM | Report abuse

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