The fallout from US-Pakistan tensions over the arrest of CIA contractor Raymond Davis for killing two Pakistanis on January 27 has continued to expand. Dawn.com reported on Friday on the number of US personnel in Pakistan believed to have diplomatic immunity, and on the same day, an American was arrested for overstaying his visa in Pakistan. Taken together, these bits of information suggest that Pakistan is carefully analyzing the data it has on potential US operatives within Pakistan and is carefully documenting their status. On Monday, the Express Tribune reported that it has received word that some suspected US spies in Pakistan have stopped their activities and some have even left the country.
The evidence that Pakistan is scouring its records to search for other operatives similar to Raymond Davis appeared in Dawn on Friday:
As many as 2,570 foreigners currently working in foreign missions of 78 countries in Pakistan enjoy diplomatic immunity, Minister of State (MoS) for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar Friday told the National Assembly.
Giving details of the countries and diplomats she said that 851 US nationals working in Pakistan enjoy immunity. Out of these 554 are diplomats while 297 are non-diplomats.
It was also informed that 31 US nationals are working in the US Consulate in Lahore and enjoying immunity.
Similarly, 52 and 58 US nationals work in US consulates located in Karachi and Peshawar respectively and enjoy diplomatic immunity.
The Guardian reported on Friday that American Aaron Mark DeHaven was arrested for overstaying his visa in Pakistan:
Peshawar police arrested Aaron DeHaven, a contractor who recently worked for the US embassy in Islamabad, saying that his visa had expired.
Little was known about DeHaven except that his firm, which also has offices in Afghanistan and Dubai, is staffed by retired US military and defence personnel who boast of direct experience in the “global war on terror”.
His business partner is listed on company documents as Hunter Obrikat with an address in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Guardian was unable to contact either men at listed numbers in Pakistan, Afghanistan, the US and Dubai.
The website for Catalyst Services, LLC can be found here. It is far more polished than the websites associated with Raymond Davis’ businesses. The US phone number listed for the company has a West Virginia area code, but gives no names for individuals within the company. Searching the West Virginia database of business entities does not find a Catalyst Services, LLC registered in the state, nor does DeHaven’s name turn up associated with any other business entities.
I have not found any documents unrelated to the Guardian article that link Dehaven and Obrikat, but North Carolina state records do show a Catalyst Services USA, LLC with Obrikat as the sole individual identified with it.
It would seem that the news that Pakistan is scouring the records of potential intelligence operatives and even arresting individuals who don’t have all of their affairs in order has some operatives shutting down their activities or leaving the country altogether. The Express Tribune reports on Monday:
At least 30 suspected covert American operatives have suspended their activities in Pakistan and 12 have already left the country, according to sources familiar with the matter.
In the aftermath of the shootings in Lahore on January 27 by suspected CIA operative Raymond Davis, intelligence agencies in Pakistan began scrutinising records of the Americans living in Pakistan and discovered several discrepancies, causing many suspected American operatives to maintain a low profile and others to leave the country altogether.
Most of the ‘special Americans’ are suspected of being operatives of US intelligence agencies who are on covert missions in Pakistan, reporting to the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), according to sources familiar with the situation.
Hmmm. It’s nice to see that the rest of the world is beginning to catch up to Jeremy Scahill’s work from December, 2009.
Since security contractors are reported to be leaving Pakistan, it comes as no surprise that DeHaven’s request for bail was denied:
A court in northwest Pakistan Monday rejected the bail application of an American said to have been working for a private security company who is accused of overstaying his visa.
“The bail application of Aaron Mark De Haven has been rejected because he had no legal documents,” public prosecutor Javed Ali told AFP in Peshawar.
The US Embassy seems quite subdued in its latest statement about DeHaven:
A U.S. citizen was remanded into judicial custody this morning at a court hearing in Peshawar. U.S. consular representatives have met with him, as they would with any private American citizen. We appreciate the cooperation of the Pakistani authorities and respect the Pakistani legal process.
So far, at least, it does not look like the US will make the same effort on behalf of DeHaven as it is making for Davis.