OTHER COUNTRIES

Italy

Post-Cold War

 

Included here:

1. British Spy Fever Reaches Italy (1999)

2. Abu Omar Rendition

 

1. British Spy Fever Reaches Italy

Materials presented in chronological order.

Johnston, Bruce. "Britain 'Did Not Tell Italy about Spies.'" Telegraph (London), 17 Sep. 1999. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

According to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on 16 September 1999, "the Italian government had first learnt on [14 September 1999] that journalists, diplomats, scientists, politicians and high-ranking ministerial employees had spied for the KGB in Italy." The paper said that the Italian government had not been informed of the revelations contained in the KGB files supplied by Vasili Mitrokhin "prior to journalistic revelations of the book by Christopher Andrew."

Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose. "261 Italians Listed as Soviet Spies." Telegraph (London), 12 Oct. 1999. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

On 11 October 1999, the Italian parliament began releasing "a list of 261 suspected Soviet agents.... Among names given to journalists ... were the former editors of three leading news publications, a troop of top politicians, an admiral, and a large number of diplomats, civil servants and prominent writers." The list comes from information given to British intelligence by Soviet defector Vasili Mitrokhin and passed to the Italian government by MI6 in October 1996. See also, Alessandra Stanley, "Italians Bare Soviet 'Spies' But the Disclosures Backfire," New York Times, 12 Oct. 1999.

Smith, R. Jeffrey. "KGB's Italian Agents May Have Hurt West." Washington Post, 17 Oct. 1999, A26. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"Soviet intelligence officers successfully recruited dozens of paid agents in Italy during the Cold War who may have compromised secrets of potential importance to NATO and the United States.... But so far, the revelations have provoked little public response besides weariness at the fresh political warfare the documents have ignited between Italian right and left."

Drake, Richard. "The Italian Parliamentary Reports on the Mitrokhin Archive." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 20,no. 2 (Summer 2007): 344-356.

"By viewing the Red Brigades as a Soviet device, rather than as the product of Italy's historic revolutionary culture..., the majority commissioners [of the Italian Parliamentary Commission] produced a report that lacked an effective connection with the political and ideological culture primarily responsible for Italian terrorism."

2. Abu Omar Rendition

Materials presented in chronological order.

Grey, Stephen, and Don Van Natta. "Thirteen with the C.I.A. Sought by Italy in a Kidnapping." New York Times, 25 Jun. 2005. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to Italian prosecutors and investigators, an Italian judge in Milan "has ordered the arrest of 13 [CIA] officers and operatives." They are charged with seizing Egyptian cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr (Abu Omar) in Milan in February 2003, and flying him to Egypt for questioning.

Priest, Dana. "Italy Knew About Plan to Grab Suspect: CIA Officials Cite Briefing in 2003." Washington Post, 30 Jun. 2005, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"Before a CIA paramilitary team" grabbed radical Islamic cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr "off the streets of Milan in February 2003, the CIA station chief in Rome briefed and sought approval from his counterpart in Italy, according to three CIA veterans with knowledge of the operation and a fourth who reviewed the matter after it took place. The previously undisclosed Italian involvement undercuts the accusation ... that the CIA brashly slipped into the country unannounced and uninvited to kidnap an Italian resident off the street." See Craig Whitlock, "Italy Denies Complicity in Alleged CIA Action: Egyptian Cleric Abducted in '03," Washington Post, 1 Jul. 2005, A14.

Whitlock, Craig. "Italy Seeks Extradition of 22 CIA Operatives." Washington Post, 12 Nov. 2005, A19. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 11 November 2005, "Italian prosecutors ... formally requested the extradition of 22 U.S. citizens believed to be CIA operatives on charges that they seized" Egyptian cleric Abu Omar in Milan in 2003 and "flew him to Cairo, where he later said he was tortured.... The prosecutors' extradition request is now before Italian Justice Minister Roberto Castelli."

Lewis, Aidan. "Judge Issues Warrants for CIA Operatives." Associated Press, 23 Dec. 2005. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

An Italian Prosecutor said on 23 December 2005 that European arrest warrants have been issued "for 22 purported CIA operatives in connection with the alleged kidnapping" of Abu Omar in Milan in 2003. Italy previously issued internal arrest warrants for the 22. "Prosecutors have identified one of the suspects as Robert Seldon Lady, a former CIA station chief in Milan who has since returned to the United States."

Whitlock, Craig. "Prosecutors: Italian Agency Helped CIA Seize Cleric." Washington Post, 6 Jul. 2006, A15. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 5 July 2006, Italian prosecutors said that they had "firm evidence" that SISMI, the military intelligence agency, "collaborated with the CIA to kidnap" Abu Omar in Milan in 2003. Two high-ranking Americans. Italian media identified the SISMI officials as "Marco Mancini, head of military counterespionage, and Gustavo Pignero, SISMI's chief for northern Italy at the time of the kidnapping."

Associated Press. "Italy Replaces Intelligence Chief." 20 Nov. 2006. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 20 November 2006, following a special Cabinet meeting, SISMI (Italian military intelligence) Director Nicolo Pollari "was replaced..., along with the heads of the civilian intelligence agency and the agency that coordinates the country's intelligence services." Pollari has been under investigation for collaborating with the CIA in the alleged abduction" of Egyptian Muslim cleric Abu Omar in Milan in 2003.

"Replacing Pollari is Admiral Bruno Branciforte, a fleet commander and former head of navy intelligence.... Gen. Mario Mori, an officer from Carabinieri paramilitary police, was replaced at the helm of the civilian intelligence agency, SISDE, by Franco Gabrielli, a top anti-terrorism police official. Gen. Giuseppe Cucchi ... replaced government official Emilio Del Mese at the co[o]rdinating body CESIS."

Delaney, Sarah, and Craig Whitlock. "Milan Court Indicts 26 Americans in Abduction: CIA Operatives May Be Tried in Absentia." Washington Post, 17 Feb. 2007, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 16 Febrary 2007, a court in Milan "handed down indictments against 25 CIA operatives, a U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel and five Italian spies." They are accused of kidnapping Abu Omar and taking him to Egypt. "The trial is scheduled to open [8 June 2007].... None of the American defendants is in custody, nor are they expected to appear in court. Prosecutors said they will be tried in absentia."

Rossi, Sara. "Italian Judge Suspends CIA Kidnapping Trial." Reuters, 3 Dec. 2008. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 3 December 2008, Milan Judge Oscar Magi "suspended the high-profile trial of U.S. and Italian agents suspected of a CIA kidnapping after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi authorized witnesses to invoke state secrecy.... Magi suspended the trial until March [2009], when a higher court is expected to rule on the government's request to dismiss the case entirely."

David, Ariel. "Italy's High Court Sinks CIA Rendition Case." Associated Press, 11 Mar. 2009. [http://www.ap.com]

On 11 March 2009, Italy's Constitutional Court "ruled that prosecutors impermissibly used classified information" to build the case against 26 Americans charged with kidnapping an Eygptian terrorism suspect Abu Omar from a Milan street in 2003.

CNN. "Suspected CIA Agents Ordered Jailed in Italy." 4 Nov. 2009. [http://www.cnn.com]

According to Italian media, "[t]wo dozen Americans -- most thought to work for the CIA -- were sentenced to five years in prison [on 4 November 2009] by an Italian court for their role in the seizing" of suspected terrorist Abu Omar in Milan in 2003. They "are not in custody, but the ruling could effectively make them international fugitives.... Cases were dismissed against the man assumed to be the CIA station chief at the time on the grounds that he had diplomatic immunity from prosecution and against the heads of Italy's intelligence service because of state secrecy provisions." See also, Craig Whitlock, "Italy Convicts 23 Americans," Washington Post, 5 Nov. 2009.

Winfield, Nicole. "Italy Appeals Court Ups US Sentences in CIA Trial." Associated Press, 15 Dec. 2010. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 15 December 2010, an Italian appeals court "increased the sentences against 23 Americans convicted in the kidnapping" of Egyptian terror suspect Abu Omar in 2003. "[T]he court added one year to the eight-year term handed down to former Milan CIA station chief Robert Seldon Lady and two years onto the five-year terms given to 22 other Americans convicted along with him, defense lawyers said."

Barry, Colleen. "Milan Appeals Court Convicts 2 Italian Spy Chiefs." Associated Press, 12 Feb. 2013. [http://www.ap.org]

On 12 February 2013, overturning acquittals in a lower court, a Milan appeals court "convicted two former Italian spy chiefs for their role in the kidnapping of a terror suspect as part of the CIA's extraordinary rendition program." The court "sentenced Nicolo Pollari, the former head of Italian military intelligence, to 10 years, and Marco Mancini, a former deputy and head of counterintelligence, to nine. Three other Italian agents also were convicted and handed six-year sentences. All the convictions can be appealed."

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