Davis is a CIA agent, says report

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London/Islamabad, Feb.21 (PTI) US official RaymondDavis, arrested on charges of gunning down two men in Lahore,is a CIA agent, a media report said.

The Guardian said based on interviews in the US andPakistan, it can confirm that Davis, a former special forcessoldier is employed by the CIA.

It quoted a senior Pakistani intelligence official assaying that "it''s beyond a shadow of doubt".

This may complicate US efforts to seek the release ofDavis, who claims to have fired in self-defence when the twoattempted to rob him.

37-year-old Davis has been charged with murder. He shotat two men who had pulled up in front of his car at a trafficsignal on January 25.

In Islamabad, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf RazaGilani said his government would deal with the matter withoutcompromising national interests.

"You should not be worried. There is a responsiblegovernment and it is working in the country''s interest," hesaid when asked by reporters about Davis being a CIAoperative.

Davis was engaged in espionage and surveillanceactivities and was on a mission when the incident happened,claimed Punjab''s law minister Rana Sanaullah.

Davis is now lodged in the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahorewhere additional security forces have been deployed.

The Obama administration has demanded the release ofDavis contending that he is an "administrative and technicalofficial" attached to its Lahore consulate and that he enjoysdiplomatic immunity.

A petition relating to his diplomatic status is pendingbefore a Lahore court. The next hearing is on March 14.

The Guardian said the Pakistani government was awareof Davis''s CIA status but had kept quiet in the face ofintense US pressure.

Another report said Davis was hired on contract by theAmerican intelligence agency and was not a regular staff.

Efforts were also underway to see whether a "bloodmoney" deal can be arrived at under which the families of thetwo victims withdraw the charges against Davis in return formoney.

Discounting his contention of self-defence, police inLahore said Davis used excessive force as he fired 10 shotsand even got out of his car to shoot dead one of the two menwho was fleeing.

A third man was crushed when a speeding vehicle withAmerican officials rushed to the aid of Davis overrunning themotorcyclist. Pakistani officials believe its occupants whohave since left the country were from CIA.

With Davis continuing to be in custody, the US hasdeferred high-level talks with Pakistan and Afghanistan amidreports that Washington may slice US aid to Islamabad.

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