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Mr. Davis was attached to the CIA‘s Global Response Staff, which provides security overseas to agency bases and stations, former and current U.S. officials told the AP. In that role, he was assigned to protect CIA personnel. One of their duties includes protecting case officers when they meet with sources. On the day he was captured, he was familiarizing himself with the area. He was living in a CIA safe house in Lahore.

Davis is a protective officer, someone who provides security to U.S. officials in Pakistan,” the U.S official said. “Rumors to the contrary are simply wrong.”

In a YouTube video of local police interrogating him, Mr. Davis said he’s a consultant and he’s with the “RAO,” a reference to the American Regional Affairs Office. Mr. Davis also said at one point he was attached to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.

Working for the agency’s GRS comes with risks — sometimes fatal ones. The head of security at the CIA‘s base in Khost, Afghanistan, was killed with six others in December 2009 after a suicide bomber detonated a powerful explosive under his belt.

The CIA has a major presence in Pakistan, where it runs the drone program in Islamabad and offensive operations against militants, al Qaeda and Pakistan‘s spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence.

Former and current U.S. officials say the Pakistanis might have been stalling Mr. Davis‘ release so he could be extensively questioned, hoping he could provide more information about CIA activities in the troubled country or possibly even identify other agency officers.

The senior Pakistani intelligence official told the AP the two men in the response vehicle that went to aid Mr. Davis, killing the bystander, have left the country. The official said the Pakistani government’s decision to let them leave was a concession to the United States.

The U.S.-Pakistani partnership has begun to fray in recent months. In late 2010, a pair of civil lawsuits filed in the United States accused Pakistan‘s spy chief of nurturing terrorists involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Shortly after the lawsuits were filed, the name of the CIA‘s top spy in Pakistan was disclosed publicly and his life threatened. He eventually was pulled out of the country in December, a month before the scheduled end of his tour.

A former CIA officer said militants also have threatened the children of ISI officers. And the CIA in recent years has become increasingly concerned about the safety of its officers in outlying areas such as Lahore and Peshawar, a former senior U.S. intelligence source said. But the danger was more pronounced in Lahore, where the CIA learned there might be government elements willing to harm agency officers.

Former CIA officials said the agency officers could have been killed in 2009 when terrorists attacked an ISI compound in Lahore. CIA officers regularly met their counterparts at the compound but didn’t have a meeting scheduled the day of the attack.

Further inflaming tensions, the wife of one of the men Mr. Davis shot committed suicide. She had said she feared her husband’s killer would be freed without trial.

Military records show Mr. Davis, a Virginia native, served a decade in the Army, including five years with the 3rd Special Forces Group in Fort Bragg, N.C., home to the Green Berets.

Mr. Davis also worked for security contractor Blackwater Worldwide, now known as Xe Services.

Mr. Davis and his wife run a Las Vegas-registered company called Hyperion Protective Services. The address for its headquarters is a mailbox at a UPS store in a strip mall. The truth about Mr. Davis‘ true employer briefly slipped out after a local television reporter in Colorado called his wife.

In a story posted on the website of Denver’s 9News, the wife provided the name and number of a “CIA spokesperson” in Washington, but the story quickly was taken down, edited and then reposted with new language eliminating any reference to the CIA.

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