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Pakistani man executed for CIA killings

kasi
FBI agent Bradly Garrett, right, helped capture Mir Aimal Kasi in 1997.

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Larry Traylor, Virginia Department of Corrections spokesman, announces the execution of Mir Aimal Kasi (November 14)
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CNN's Bob Franken reports the State Department has warned of possible attacks against U.S. citizens because of Mir Aimal Kasi's execution [November 14]
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JARRATT, Virginia (CNN) -- The U.S. State Department is warning that the Thursday execution of a Pakistani man for killing two CIA employees might trigger retaliatory attacks by terrorists.

Mir Aimal Kasi was convicted in the 1993 shootings that happened outside the CIA's headquarters in Virginia. Kasi, 38, died by lethal injection at 9:07 p.m. ET at the Greensville Correctional Center.

His final statement was: "There is no God but Allah."

Larry Traylor, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Corrections, said Kasi was "chanting, I believe, in his native tongue when he did come into the chamber.

"His spiritual adviser also was chanting, kind of in a whispered chant. And once the spiritual adviser was escorted out of the execution chamber, (Kasi) continued to chant softly," Traylor told reporters.

It took about three to four minutes for Kasi to die after the first drug was administered.

"He appeared nervous. I'd say his breathing was a little labored. When the first drug took effect, he did have a bit of a snore as he exhaled. That's not uncommon," Traylor said. "Other than that, there were no complications."

Other witnesses said Kasi waved two fingers in a sort of victory sign on his way into the chamber and was wearing a short-sleeved shirt, blue jeans and sandals without socks.

No family members of the victims were present at the execution, Traylor said.

In Pakistan, Kasi's family mourned his death but appealed for calm Friday. (Full story)

CIA chief: Killer's victims 'remain in our thoughts'

CIA Director George Tenet said the agency will never forget the CIA employees killed and wounded in the attack: "Today, our thoughts are with our two colleagues who were murdered on January 25, 1993, as well as the three others who were wounded that day," Tenet said in a statement issued after the execution.

"They and their loved ones will always be part of our agency family. They will remain in our thoughts and prayers long after today."

Kasi had asked Brad Garrett, the FBI agent who tracked down Kasi and brought him back from Pakistan, to attend the execution and the agent stood next to Kasi's gurney.

Kasi's body was being transported to the medical examiner's office in Richmond, where an autopsy will be performed before it is turned over to his family. The family has said it wants to return the body to Pakistan.

Dozens of anti-death penalty activists protested outside the prison and held a candlelight vigil. One woman held a sign reading, "Life is sacred. Do not kill."

Stays and clemency denied

Hours before his death, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block the execution and Virginia Gov. Mark Warner rejected a request for clemency.

The Pakistani native was convicted of an ambush-style murder spree outside CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, on January 25, 1993. Two agency employees died, three others were wounded.

Lawyers for Kasi had asked the justices for a stay of execution and to overturn his state conviction, both of which were rejected. Only Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg voted to grant the stay.

Kasi's family, along with Pakistan's embassy in the United States, had asked for clemency.

Kasi's execution prompted the State Department to issue warnings that his death may trigger retaliatory attacks against U.S. interests overseas.

Traylor said earlier, "We're aware of the security issues, and we're dealing with those issues."

Kasi was convicted in 1997 for the killings of two CIA employees -- Frank Darling, 28, and Lansing Bennett, 66 -- as they sat in their cars in morning traffic outside CIA headquarters. Three other CIA employees, all in separate cars, were wounded in the attack.

Around 8 a.m., Kasi walked among the automobiles with an AK-47 firing randomly. The cars were stopped at a red light, waiting to turn into the CIA entrance.

"I was real angry with the policy of the U.S. government in the Middle East, particularly toward the Palestinian people," Kasi said in a prison interview with CNN affiliate WTTG.

Kasi worked for a local courier service at the time of the shooting and was familiar with the area around the CIA headquarters. He fled the scene and remained on the run for more than four years, until FBI agents in a hotel in Pakistan captured him in June 1997. According to prosecutors, he spent most of his time hiding in Afghanistan, with only occasional stops in Pakistan.

On the flight back to the United States, authorities said, he gave an oral and written confession to Garrett after signing a written rights waiver form. He was found guilty after a 10-day trial in Fairfax County in November 1997.

The State Department last week issued an advisory that the execution could prompt attacks against Western interests. "The potential exists for retaliatory acts against U.S. or other foreign interests in response to the execution," the advisory said.

Kasi himself referenced that possibility in the recent interview.

"In Pakistan, a lot of people like me. So I believe there will be big chances for retaliation against Americans there. But personally, I don't encourage anyone to attack Americans," he said.



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