Human Rights

CIA’s Raymond Davis is private security contractor

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LahoreMosque-Flickr/Jacksoncam

Covert US drone attacks resumed inside Pakistan today after a 29-day lull, when two strikes killed up to fourteen suspected militants in North and South Waziristan.  The deadly attacks came as Raymond Davis, the man at the centre of a diplomatic storm between Pakistan and the United States, was ‘outed’ as a CIA agent.

Davis remains incarcerated in a Lahore prison, charged with double murder.   However, documents examined by the Bureau show that Davis is likely to be a contractor to – rather than an employee of – the CIA.  The case illustrates the degree to which even the CIA’s frontline work has been privatised.

When first arrested on January 27 for gunning down two men in Lahore, Davis described himself as a “contractor” and presented police with a business card identifying his company as Hyperion Protective Services, based in Orlando, Florida.

When the Bureau attempted to speak with the company’s co-founder, Mr Gerald Richardson, it was told Mr Richardson had simply provided building security for a previous business at that address, and that his whereabouts were no longer known.

A Hyperion Protective Services is also listed in Las Vegas, Nevada. Raymond A Davis and wife Deborah are listed as the owners, in a company offering ‘private investigations’ and an ‘armored car service’.

The given number transfers callers to a rural Arizona address.

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Paperwork filed with Arizona State describes Hyperion’s work as ‘high risk threat protection’.  But the Davis family has moved on, this time to Highlands Ranch, near Denver, Colorado.  Calls by local media to the Davis house were initially forwarded to the CIA, inadvertently outing his main employer, according to The Guardian.

Despite being a frontline CIA agent, Davis remains a freelance contractor.  Leaked invoices obtained by Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper appear to show that Davis is paid $780 a day while stationed in Pakistan – and in total is paid $200,000 a year, presumably by the CIA.

It has also been reported that Davis once worked for Blackwater, now known as Xe, the mercenary organisation which is contracted by the CIA on various projects.

Both the US Department of Defense and the CIA have rapidly expanded their use of private contractors in the past decade. Recent estimates have placed the annual contractor bill at $45bn -  representing more than half of the entire intelligence budget.

The CIA’s covert drone campaign inside Pakistan has averaged one strike every four days since President Obama took office: 181 strikes in total.  But no fatal attacks were recorded for the past 29 days. Only once before under Obama – May 16th to June 14th 2009 – has there been such a long delay.  There is speculation that the campaign was suspended to help assist Davis’ release.