Article on CIA’s involvement in Pakistan, in what reads like a Bourne movie. Raymond Davis was an independent contractor that likely worked alongside the CIA’s Special Activities Division, the agency’s paramilitary wing. His mandate was to surveil and report on the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (who were behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and are one of South Asia’s most active Islamist groups).
When a CIA operation in Pakistan went bad, leaving three men dead, the episode offered a rare glimpse inside a shadowy world of espionage. It also jeopardized America’s most critical outpost in the war against terrorism.
[Raymond] Davis operated in the darkest shadows of the war against terrorism. He worked for the CIA as an independent contractor, gathering information on the jihadist group behind some of the most cruel and spectacular attacks in recent years. The intelligence operation collapsed violently in January when two Pakistani men accosted Davis on a crowded street and he shot them both dead with a skill rarely seen outside spy novels. A botched attempt to rescue him in the -aftermath left a third man dead and Davis under arrest.
The episode inflamed the Pakistani people and set up a tricky showdown between two governments. It also pierced the cloak covering a clandestine world, exposing a realm of surveillance and countersurveillance, suspicion and political exploitation. For the United States, the consequences were profound: Pakistan is the CIA’s most important arena, a hiding spot for Al Qaeda and home of a dangerous, rising terrorist militia called Lashkar-e-Taiba. But Davis’s eventual release cost America much more than the money that was paid to compensate victims’ families: Backroom deals have forced the withdrawal of CIA operatives from the heartland of terrorism.
Relations since then between the CIA and ISI have deteriorated. The same NYT article reports that the CIA is pushing to expand its drone program throughout the northwest.