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February 10, 2011

Report: US In Showdown With Pakistan Over Arrested Embassy Worker

Wow, this has been a bit under the radar but if it's true, it could be a very big deal.

Pakistani officials say President Obama's national security advisor summoned Pakistan's ambassador to the White House Monday evening to deliver a threat from the president: Release Raymond Davis, an American being held in Lahore for killing two Pakistanis, or face the consequences.

National Security Advisor Tom Donilon told Ambassador Husain Haqqani, according to two Pakistani officials involved in negotiations about Davis, that the U.S. will kick Haqqani out of the U.S., close U.S. consulates in Pakistan, and cancel an upcoming visit by Pakistan's president to Washington, if Davis, a U.S. embassy employee, is not released from custody by Friday.

The outlines of the threat were confirmed to ABC News by a senior U.S. official, who was not authorized to speak on the record. A White House spokesperson, Tommy Vietor, declined comment.

Calling Pakistan an "ally" is stretching the term to near the breaking point but clearly it's one of the most important relationships the US has. This would be a step or two short of cutting off official diplomatic relations.

Davis is in Pakistan on a US diplomatic passport and has been held for two weeks following the shooting.

I never would have thought the Obama administration had the stones for this kind of threat. It's not the kind of thing you can bluff at, either this guy is turned over tomorrow or the crap has to hit the fan. Given how deftly the Obama administration has handled the Egyptian crisis, I'm sure everything will be fine.

Added: Interesting discussion about whether or not Davis officially has diplomatic immunity. There's some disagreement about his paperwork and whether he was officially recognized as a diplomat.

It makes you wonder exactly who this guy is. Why would the administration be willing to go to the mattresses for this guy and risk blowing up the relationship with Pakistan?


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posted by DrewM. at 06:37 PM

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