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U.S. Employee Arrested in Pakistan Is Said to Work for the CIA

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Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- An American described by the U.S. government as a diplomat, who was arrested in Pakistan for the shooting of two men, worked as a security contractor for the Central Intelligence Agency, a U.S. official said today.

The American, Raymond Davis, provided security to U.S. personnel in Pakistan, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is pending. Davis is being held in a jail in the Lahore area with about 4,000 inmates, the official said.

The disclosure of a CIA connection to Davis may complicate a case that triggered street protests in Pakistan and strained U.S.-Pakistani relations. The U.S. government contends Davis has diplomatic immunity and acted in self-defense when he was approached in an attempted robbery last month in Lahore. Pakistani authorities have held Davis since Jan. 27 as the U.S. works for his release.

“We still believe earnestly that Mr. Davis is a member of the administrative and technical staff of the embassy in Islamabad and should not be arrested or detained,” said Philip J. Crowley, a spokesman with the U.S. State Department, in a conference call with reporters today. He declined to comment on reports earlier today in the Washington Post and New York Times of Davis’s involvement with the CIA.

Senator John Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pushed for Davis’s release in a visit to Pakistan last week. He said the U.S. State Department would conduct its own investigation into the killings and may hold hearings.

Safety Concerns

U.S. officials are concerned with the safety of Davis, Crowley said.

Dogs taste or smell his food to make sure it doesn’t contain poison, the official said.

Pakistan’s only legal recourse against Davis, under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, would be to find his status with the embassy “unacceptable” and expel him from the country, according to a senior administration official who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Lerman in Washington at Dlerman1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net.

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