Feb. 21, 2011 — -- Raymond A. Davis, the U.S. official at the heart of a tense stand-off with the Pakistan government, was working for the CIA as an independent contractor when he shot and killed two Pakistani men, according to two senior U.S. intelligence officials. U.S. officials believe Davis's affiliation with the CIA places his life at risk, even from the guards in the prison where he is now being held.
In the fullest account yet of how an American official came to be held for the deadly shooting in Pakistan, three current officials have told ABC News who Davis was working for and what he was doing on Jan. 27 when the incident occurred.
According to a current senior U.S. official and a senior intelligence consultant who worked with Davis, the 36-year-old American is a former Blackwater contractor who was posted to Lahore as part of the CIA's Global Response Staff, or GRS, a unit of security and bodyguards assigned to war zones and troubled countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. Members of the GRS most often accompany CIA case officers, who meet with clandestine sources.
Davis and a group of fellow security officers lived in a safehouse in Lahore. The CIA keeps safehouses for security personnel in an effort to limit the ability for militants to track their movements, the intelligence contractor said.
ABC News was asked by the U.S. government to withhold publication of Davis's affiliation with the CIA, citing fears that disclosure would jeopardize his safety. After several foreign media organizations published parts of his background, the U.S. government rescinded its request to ABC News to embargo the information.
On Jan. 27, Davis left the safehouse and conducted an "area familiarization route," according to the senior U.S. official. He drove through various Lahore neighborhoods for several hours. It was during his route, two U.S. officials say, that Davis stopped at an A.T.M. and possibly drew the attention of two Pakistani men on a motorcycle.
Davis has told the police in Lahore that the two men were attempting to rob him when he fired several rounds from his Glock handgun, hitting them both. The police report says that Davis claimed one of the men had a gun cocked at him. Davis fired multiple rounds from inside his car, killing one man in the street, while the second died later from his injuries.
Davis then called for help from several other CIA security officers who shared his Lahore safehouse, according to a U.S. official and the intelligence consultant. As they arrived near the intersection, they accidentally hit a Pakistani motorcyclist. The motorcyclist later died of his injuries. Davis' colleagues were unable to get to Davis before the police arrested him. They left the scene and returned to their safehouse.
Within hours, they had destroyed all government documents at the safehouse, abandoned it, and retreated to the U.S. consulate for safety. Both have since returned to the U.S., according to a senior U.S. official briefed on the case.
Since Davis was detained, the Obama administration has summoned the Pakistani ambassador to the White House to demand Davis's release, while Secretary of State Clinton and the U.S. ambassador to Pakistani and asked senior Pakistani military, intelligence and other government officials to respect Davis's diplomatic immunity. But the U.S. has refused to elaborate publicly on Davis' position in Pakistan except to say he was a "technical advisor" for the consulate in Lahore and to refer to him as a "diplomat" in public statements.
"We are playing a game of chicken," said a senior Pakistani official, who would only speak if given anonymity. "It is not yet clear who will blink first."