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Posted at 9:00 PM ET, 02/22/2011

Ray Davis rescue? 'Mission Impossible,' CIA vet says

By Jeff Stein

Reported fears that Raymond Davis may not make it out of Pakistan alive may have the White House pondering rescue scenarios.

The betting is that President Obama will somehow figure out a way to spring Davis, a CIA operative whose diplomatic cover is a matter of heated debate. But given the exigencies of Pakistani politics, the Obama administration's threats, pressure and general foot-stomping are not guaranteed to work.

A CIA counterterrorism veteran with extensive experience in Pakistan offered the following scenario by e-mail, but only after figuratively shaking his head and exhaling deeply. He would not allow his name to be used, in part because he didn’t want to expose himself to ridicule.

“I suppose, if you knew exactly to the meter where Davis was being held, and it was a ground floor room with access to an external wall that was not impossibly thick, you could use a shaped charge to blow a hole in the wall, toss in some flash-bangs, then get a few guys in there to drag out Davis, while hoping you didn't kill Davis or any cops with debris from the shaped charge. That would be simplest and fastest, but would also have to be used with some sort of diversion to draw off cops and civilians before and during the raid. “

Alternate scenario:

“You somehow get the layout, figure out where Davis is being held. You start pumping tear gas into the ventilation system until 90 percent of the cops in the station come stumbling out. You have a team waiting to disarm them and immobilize them, and send another in with gas masks, flash bangs and stun guns to get Davis out.”

Oh, and another thing:

“Of course, as soon as you start the assault, you'd have to have taken down the Paks' commo [radio communications], or create a big diversion by setting off a simulated bomb or fire somewhere else, to draw off potential reinforcements.”

There’s a lot to consider.

“The problem is, even if the building were empty, you'd probably have to pass several heavy duty doors to which you don't have keys, and don't have time to get and figure out the keys -- the cops, even if one of them has them all, is hardly going to explain them in the 3 minutes you'd have to get in and out -- which would mean reliance on various breaching aids. And now you're getting trickier and trickier depending how heavy duty the doors and bars are.”

Anything else?

“What do you do about the mob waiting outside for Davis to by lynched, not to mention all the press?”

“The more you think about it,” my CIA friend said, “the more it seems like 'Mission Impossible' silliness.”

Indeed. Espionage and counterterrorism veterans have been grumbling for days about the missteps in Lahore that once again left egg on the CIA’s face. Some compare it to the disaster in Khost, Afghanistan last year that left seven agency employees dead: “Amateur hour.”

“I think they missed the play on this,” said one, whose name cannot be used because he maintains close ties to the agency. “The [right] move was for [Davis] to drive/walk/run away from the scene [instead of] calling for backup. Then, from the security of the embassy compound, they could either negotiate or slip him out of the country a million different ways.”

He sighed.

“This is what comes of taking guys who are basically commandos and letting them play at being spooks. They think in the wrong way. They do not understand that spies are not supposed to fire their weapons, and, if they do, they are supposed to float away, not hang around to talk to the authorities.”

On Tuesday ABC News reported that “Davis first arrived in Pakistan in December 2008, and was posted at various times in Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar. Until last August, Davis was stationed in Pakistan as an employee of the company once known as Blackwater, now called Xe Services, and contracted to the CIA.”

According to The Post’s Greg Miller, quoting a U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, “At the time of his arrest, Davis was based at a house with five other CIA contractors as well as an agency employee.”

He was been moved to a separate section of the Lahore jail where the guards' guns had been taken away "for fear that one of them may kill him," Miller reported, citing a U.S. official.

"Our first fear is that the sentiment of the street in Pakistan is, 'Let's take him and hang him,'" a current senior U.S. official told ABC.

By Jeff Stein  | February 22, 2011; 9:00 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy, Intelligence, Lawandcourts, Military  | Tags:  Raymond David; Barack Obama; Jimmy Carter; Bruce Willis; Last Action Hero  
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Or, Obama and the Defense Dept. could just call Kayani, Gillani, Zardari and tell them very calmly "If you want our money and military support, you better release our boy, and quietly."

Posted by: bachman737 | February 22, 2011 10:34 PM | Report abuse

I urge all of you to stop pakistani aid and urge them to prepare a red carpet like iran to clear the country of the yanks. Iran has sent a rocket with cryogenic engine to space a year or two ago. pakistan needs to develop and get on its own feet and please help. pakistan is many times larger than israeli entity ( and can develop on its own.

911 is inside job to stop iran style revolution in saudi arabia by defaming osama who was totally innocent.

that can stop the trillion dollar discount to US on saudi oil.

Posted by: larry_silverstein | February 23, 2011 12:42 AM | Report abuse


Not impossible, very possible.

Posted by: tcmsols1 | February 23, 2011 2:02 AM | Report abuse

US actions to defend this gentleman have been almost as counterproductive as ongoing drone strikes. Through insensitive bullying, we encourage all Westerners to be seen as valid targets — in Pakistan and beyond.

If there was any indication that Davis was being set up or framed, then some behind-the-scenes discussions would be in order. But in the Davis case, all evidence points to serious criminal misconduct on his part. So much so, that if he is brought back to the United States, he should be tried here.

The photos contained in the camera taken from Davis make him out to be some sort of military tourist, clearly overstepping any rational mission requirements. If local press reports are to be believed, Davis was operating with inadequate supervision and with SOPs that are the direct opposite of Moscow Rules.

The entire manner of recruiting and supervising US intelligence assets is fundamentally flawed. If you recruit sheltered, narrow-minded zombies to work for you, who are unwilling or unable to operate without immediate access to deadly force, then expect the worst. The best approach for the US would be to implement a vertical chop and a wholesale reduction in US assets in Pakistan. Then try to actually listen to what your friends in Pakistan are trying to tell you.

Posted by: AnthonyEdwardMitchell | February 23, 2011 3:36 AM | Report abuse

Davis's choice to not the flee the scene is a key question.

The follow-up question is: Why did Davis have to kill those motorcyclists? Why did he need proof (photos) they were dead?

What if Davis had already met with his source/informant? What if the motorcycle guys had witnessed this meet-up and now knew who the informant was? What if that's what Davis had to protect against at all costs? What if that's the real reason he called for back-up with a car armed to the teeth?

The Pakistani authorities and ISI knew who Davis was and knew about the safe house/CIA group home. Davis had nothing to protect in that. But we know there was something worth killing 3 people for that day in Lahore.

The motorcyclists were in front of Davis when he shot them. We've been told that the motorcyclists were following Davis but the actual shooting configuration has Davis playing cat to the motorcyclists' mouse.

Puzzling, isn't it?

Posted by: jr1029 | February 23, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

> if you knew exactly to the meter where Davis was being held, and it was a ground floor room with access to an external wall that was not impossibly thick, you could use a shaped charge to blow a hole in the wall,

Somehow I'm reminded of the scene where Gort rescues the temporarily dead Klaatu from jail. Of course, Gort had the advantage of having a disintegrator ray built into his head.

Posted by: TexLex | February 23, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

> Gort

Here we go:

Posted by: TexLex | February 23, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

As usual Americans are missing the point on how to get RayD out of Parkistan. Threats to cut down aid, withholding money will be counter productive. Do you really want to get out of a country that has been providing a logistical base to the american effort in Afghanistan. If you turn Pakistan away, you have to support Afghanistan operations only from the north - because the country is surrounded by Iran, Pakistan and China on three sides. Sure save some money by withholding it from Pak, but spend more coming in from other way. Next Pakistan will become the new Afghanistan. So much for Operation Enduring Freedom.

This talk about springing him etc is also hilarious. Best of luck with that.

The US can instead look at providing the Pakistanis some face saving measures in exchange for RayD's release. Anyone here heard of Aafia Siddique. she has been recently convicted in US and is an hot emotional issue in Pakistan. Perhaps you can trade one (US) convict for another (Pakistani one)?

Posted by: Jagp | February 23, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

what other secrets are these newspapers hiding ?

Posted by: larry_silverstein | February 23, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

The comprehensive dialogue should start with indisputable facts in the published papers by Dr Steven Jones in the journal of 911 studies.

Who were really the masterminds of 911 and Anthrax in the US ? Who were the team that planted demolition charges in the buildings 1 2 and 7 ?

These are the most urgent questions at the moment.

Posted by: larry_silverstein | February 23, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Pakistan should get to work on a face-saving way to get Davis out of the country immediately. His death in custody or a trial can't be a good result for Pakistan.

Posted by: cassandra9 | February 23, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

@anthoney u hit the nail on head u guys must listen and understand pakistan ,any ramboo thing not gonna work there ,domestic enviorment after this issue got more anti american i mean this they simply thik hey r playing gamnes and hurting us by covert ops with local rogue element that they found from his cel phone records to hurt pakistanis next time anybody can shoot anywestrner consider to be american contarctor,raymond was bone head nothing more he knows his status and GOP IS LOOKING WHAT HE GOT phone and his contacts local and afghan and it becoming more and more evident that he was working againest pakistan i mean they know CIA guys in embassy and they interact with them but he is rotten and so the all of contracter working there on visas will go home with him,any way davis will like to speak punjabi with u guys when he will back i like he chew naswar but covert opration in pakistan is looking to be end now ,must u guys undersstand stop looking things american ways that era is over long time ago cheers

Posted by: adam1975 | February 23, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

U.S. should get working on a face-saving solution which is to prepare for the hanging of Davis and to handover the driver. We know that there is no Al-qay-dah and 911 was an inside job.

It is quite clear that US agents are mapping pakistani military installations for the purpose of a 10 minute blitzkreig by India and Israel. Davis was a rogue agent working for the Mossad.

It is shameful that pakistani govt is giving him a VIP protocol inside the jail and not keeping him with ordinary criminals or should have constructed a special GITMO where he lives under the sun and sustains himself by organic farming.

The racial equality of races must be established world-wide and this is the time and occasion to do this.

I have discussed much with overseas pakistanis and they say that they will STOP helping pakistan in the FUTURE with ANY REMITTANCES or MONEY UNLESS DAVIS IS HANGED. They say that in various countries of majority white, they face PERVASIVE discrimination , at court, job, police and all levels of the society to the GORA. The word is GORA.


US should prepare itself for it gracefully.

Posted by: larry_silverstein | February 23, 2011 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Once he is released , then the american attitude would harden.

If he is hanged, equality of races will be established on the planet.

He is NOT a diplomat and an agent of Criminal Agency where there are courts against them in italian courts.

The CIA did not abduct ROMAN POLANSKY who is a know criminal rapist.

The Israelis HAVE punished americans and killed 120 of their sailors when they were doing similar espionage in international waters on them. The incident is called USS Liberty and the US president Johnson hid it from the public.

Youtube has videos on the incident.

Americans should prepare for a face saving by saying we respect pakistani judiciary and whatever it decides.

or else people of pakistan will take justice from the GORA themselves . The cure to racism is to be impartial .

The great muslim jurist Ibne Khaldun has said that the life of nations depends on the establishment of law and justice in a society.

This is now the case of pakistani judiciary. Any U TURN on this will nullify all the work done by the long march to reinstate Chief Justice Rana Bhagwan Das, Ramday and Chaudhury.

No more US imposed U TURNS in pakistan.

Posted by: larry_silverstein | February 23, 2011 7:30 PM | Report abuse

What are US objectives on Racism ? In the US cities, CIA is conducting undercover operations to kill asians by quietly poisioning them. Before you laugh, recall the operation of Mossad team of 20 smiling men and women to kill a man in Dubai and make it look like a NATURAL death which was caught on video and released internationally.

This is specifically directed towards the ASIAN minority such as chinese, korean and japanese.

There are other means of creating nuisence ranging from bugging houses, moving agents with daily barking dogs, basketball noises, disinforming about city laws and all kinds of mischief by this race.

This is NOT without EVIDENCE. Its a full spectrum war that white race is engaged in.

Posted by: larry_silverstein | February 23, 2011 8:35 PM | Report abuse

There are several complainants behind davis on murder. There is no possibility of blood money. To save his, Zardari , Malik or Awan must submit their own two persons or their sons etc. willing to pay for the two.

Its blood for blood.

Only such kosher laws end crimes and corruption on the planet.

Posted by: larry_silverstein | February 23, 2011 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Jeff, for writing this blog. I'm affected personally in this matter, and feel I have to comment, even though it is professionally unwise to do so. I have wondered since the beginning of this fiasco why the US Gov is trying so valiantly to get him out. Davis has obviously watched too many cheap movies and consumed too much testosterone. CIA may be full of cowboys, but at least they undergo a great deal of training in situational awareness, driving, personal safety, and other similar protective measures. A proper officer would have driven away, chance permitting, or done one of a number of things, including giving up the damn money. While I believe it's wrong for case officers to carry guns illegally (they are indeed guilty of flouting the law in countries for which they have little regard, and Pakistan is a good example of this), it is far worse that they feel they have to augment their forces to such a degree that they stick poorly-trained hired guns in safe houses around the various Pakistani cities. This loose canon of theirs has done incalculable damage and should be abandoned to Pakistani law.

Posted by: candor2 | February 23, 2011 10:21 PM | Report abuse

This dude Larry_silverstien spams every articles comments. What a dope.

Posted by: timothypvannote | February 24, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

In proposing these outlandish scenario you missed the most likely. A swap. US is holding a crazy pakistani chick who apparently has a big following in Pakistan. A swap for Davis will be face saving for both countries.

Posted by: Skippy21 | February 24, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

davis was another "michael meiring" operative killing and false flag ops mercenary. plausible deniability won't work now that the immunity card has been played, and i suspect davis is in more danger from his gangster/politico employers, lifewise.
a damn good waterboarding on public tv might be a good idea, america has no objection to "enhanced interrogation"!

Posted by: englishman2 | February 24, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I found this comment by the CIA operative interviewed to be very condescending and probably inaccurate-- "This is what comes of taking guys who are basically commandos and letting them play at being spooks. They think in the wrong way. They do not understand that spies are not supposed to fire their weapons, and, if they do, they are supposed to float away, not hang around to talk to the authorities.”

I asked a friend, who has significant experience in these affairs as an operative, if he agreed. He said: "Davis would have E&E'd (escaped and evaded)if he could have without being caught and skinned. Having some experience in another life with such things...our side will protest (as they are), then let him rot for a while before striking a back door deal somewhere down the road to 'eventually' free him. The hand-wringers will only go so far with this...any direct action is not in the cards. Guys get thrown to the wolves all the time in such scenarios."

I believe he confirms my theory that Davis only killed the two assailants because he felt himself in imminent danger, but thereby called unwanted attention to himself. He called for backup because he could not get away without surely being caught by hostiles who may have summarily executed him. Once can assume that he is a highly-trained Special Operations professional with at least several years experience in this environment as a covert operative, if not a "spy." These are people who accept serious risks and the potential consequences in doing their jobs to secure America and our interests. There are many of them doing this right now, and we should be grateful to them. My friend has told me that the "spy types" have a superiority complex over the "knuckle-draggers and trigger-pullers" which they consider soldiers like Davis to be. That seems unfortunate, if they are to play well together on the same team.

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." ~George Orwell

Posted by: jpatrickdowns | February 24, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse


Put down that crack pipe and back away very slowly...

Posted by: jpatrickdowns | February 24, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Recent Federal Govt Agencies have put the value of a human life between $5 to $10 million. Let's say the typical Afghan is 1/5th of a human being (less than the 3/5th of a while ago). Then that life is worth a million. Further let's call it a million Afghanis, which comes to 22000 dollars.

Round it off to 60,000 for the three people killed, and get Rambo Davis out. As simple as that!

Sarcasm entirely intended.

Posted by: ashrink | February 24, 2011 6:14 PM | Report abuse

jpatrickdowns: Thoughtful comment. Much remains to be learned about Davis and the men who allegedly accosted him.-js

Posted by: Jeff Stein | March 2, 2011 7:05 PM | Report abuse

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