Lahore consulate

Washington Post Lifts Veil Further on CIA’s Global Response Staff, Raymond Davis

Greg Miller and Julie Tate provide some fascinating reading in today’s Washington Post, where they provide many new details on the CIA’s Global Response Staff and reveal that its most famous (probably now former) member is Raymond Davis.

One thing that we learn is that members of the GRS typically are contractors and that they are paid a “lucrative” salary around $140,000, but with no benefits. I suppose an argument can be made that by hiring contractors, the CIA has an extra layer of deniability, but it still strikes me as completely heartless and stark that people with such important missions and at such high risk are treated in a way that nonprofit foundations have to exist to provide for school expenses for the surviving children when these operatives die while on duty.

What I want to concentrate on here, though, is the description of what GRS does and how that might give us new insight into the Raymond Davis incident. Here are Miller and Tate on what GRS does:

The GRS, as it is known, is designed to stay in the shadows, training teams to work undercover and provide an unobtrusive layer of security for CIA officers in high-risk outposts.

/snip/

CIA veterans said that GRS teams have become a critical component of conventional espionage, providing protection for case officers whose counterterrorism assignments carry a level of risk that rarely accompanied the cloak-and-dagger encounters of the Cold War.

Spywork used to require slipping solo through cities in Eastern Europe. Now, “clandestine human intelligence involves showing up in a Land Cruiser with some [former] Deltas or SEALs, picking up an asset and then dumping him back there when you are through,” said a former CIA officer who worked closely with the security group overseas.

Bodyguard details have become so essential to espionage that the CIA has overhauled its training program at the Farm — its case officer academy in southern Virginia — to teach spies the basics of working with GRS teams.

I have always been troubled by the Raymond Davis incident, trying to understand why Davis would have been seen as a target worthy of attacking in the middle of a busy and highly populated urban site. But now I wonder whether Davis was by himself when the incident started. If he was providing security to a high value target, that would provide a much better explanation for why his vehicle was attacked. Also, recall that a Toyota Land Cruiser rushed to the scene from the Lahore consulate, killing a third Pakistani when it went the wrong way down a one-way street. The whole Davis incident would make more sense to me if this Land Cruiser picked up the high value target and, most likely, a second GRS protector and took them back to the Lahore consulate. Recall that as Marcy pointed out, John Kerry subsequently smuggled the Land Cruiser driver out of Pakistan. Did he also remove the high value target and the other GRS protector?

One final note. The article addresses recruitment for GRS, stating “The work is lucrative enough that recruiting is done largely by word of mouth”. I had previously speculated that Davis was a CIA recruiter, but given the GRS duties we now know, the types of recruiting targets I described fit even better into GRS jobs.

 

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @p2wy Glove box. And this goes back to when I worked in industry w/AmericanESL speakers, which made it kind of a problem.
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emptywheel @p2wy I use Irish slang a lot, for obvious reasons (also sometimes forget I'm supposed to call it a "glove compartment")
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emptywheel @KimZetter I was just thinking it must be hell on Wired's editorial staff.
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emptywheel @TimothyS Also, "Did SAIC and Raytheon oversee some catastrophic mis-implementation of CIA's reporting system in the aughts"?
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emptywheel RT @saftergood: New CRS report examines the growing frequency of mass shootings http://t.co/0U59Yr6fRd
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emptywheel Fr weekend: We ought to consider report that Adm Rogers overly focused on CENTCOM given claim US will "deter" China. https://t.co/xSXEPa01DZ
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emptywheel @TimothyS Speaking of which, you may find this of interest. https://t.co/nShubBLB7W
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emptywheel @billmon1 Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
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emptywheel The Things Our Allies Tell Us — Or Don’t, Middle East Quagmire edition https://t.co/qkxTdrHLJo
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emptywheel And at the very least a pre-USA Freedom Act implementation canary would have been useful. https://t.co/xXtKpl3B1M
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emptywheel Methinks we've now gotten to the "doth protest too much" stage for these clowns. https://t.co/NE14lzv1u1
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bmaz @ScottGreenfield I hope you have a nice laser color printer. It really jumps in color.
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