U.S. citizen and CIA contractor Raymond Davis was released from a Pakistani prison on Wednesday after $2.3 million was paid to the families of the two Pakistani men he shot and killed and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said repeatedly on Wednesday that the United States had not paid any "blood money" to win his release.
But that's not the whole story. The truth is that the Pakistani government paid the victims' families the $2.3 million and the U.S. promised to reimburse them in the future, according to a senior Pakistani official.
Clinton's interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep was only one of many where Clinton refused to say how the money got into the hands of the Pakistani victims' families.
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In several other interviews, Clinton told reporters to ask the families -- or anyone else other than the U.S. government -- how the reported $2.3 million appeared. Obama administration officials want to focus on the fact that Davis is now returning home, not the quid pro quo that made it happen.
"Quid pro quo." I like that Latin phrase. I also like this one: cui bono?
There is no big mystery here. I think we can figure out what party, or parties, had an interest in making the payments. Likewise, we can figure out who brought the families to the courthouse, isolated them from their - suddenly former - lawyer, and then relocated them immediately after they accepted the payment.
Considering that the USG provides Pakistan around $3.5 billion a year in civilian and military aid, a mere two or three million amounts to lunch money for either country.
The deal was cut, and all parties to it must have felt they benefited. Trying to tease out an admission from U.S. officials serves no purpose, and might just further rile up the already riled up Pakistani masses.