Monday, November 26, 2012

CIA Kidnapping

So that happened
--State and Main (2002)

[Follow-on from last week's Italian kidnapping verdict (A Faceless Man).]

This could be a fictional Aurelio Zen kidnapping, but it is sadly not.  In a true crime scenario, U.S. Central Intelligence Agents snatched a believed "radical Egyptian Muslim cleric" off the streets of Milan in 2003.

An ex-CIA operative involved in the operation, Sabrina De Sousa, told her mother, “There was an incident in Italy. It involved what the Italians consider a crime.” Imagine the hubris or the denial to be able to be amazed that she was being charged with an actual crime. “It was kidnapping. Don’t worry. I am not a criminal” (Kidnapping Unravels Spy's Career.)

Perhaps De Sousa drank the tea, and thought calling the snatch a "rendition" rendered it legal and permissible. In fact, the Italian Supreme Court found 22 CIA officers guilty of aggravated kidnapping; they will probably never be rendered to Italy for the execution of their sentencing.

The Washington Post notes, "Unlike the other Americans caught up in the case, [De Sousa] refuses to retreat into anonymity." This ostensibly makes De Sousa appear righteous, but in fact her cover has been blown from here to Milan, so there is only personal gain to be had from talking.

The Post continues to get it wrong when it writes, "More than anything, De Sousa’s legal battles reveal the cascading personal toll on a CIA officer when a secret intelligence operation’s cover is blown."  No -- the problem is not the agent's cover being blown but rather the fact that she was involved in the commission of a crime.  Having your cover blown is not a felony.  Kidnapping is, and kidnapping done in the name of freedom and democracy is doubly damning, as it puts icing on a terrorist activity.

Describing the naturalized U.S. citizen who began working for the CIA in the 1990's, the Post writes, "DeSousa's) olive skin and fluency in Portuguese, French, Hindi, German and Italian enabled her to blend into crowds and easily take part in surveillance of suspects.Suspect is a police term -- does the CIA do police work or intel?

Why would an intel agency investigate the cleric?  If he is engaged in terrorist activity and was "under investigation", should this not be a host nation legal and criminal concern?  The CIA  is an intel agency, not law enforcement.

We are supposed to be the Good Guys here.  Note that the kidnapped was an Egyptian cleric, not a Taliban, not a Saudi. When the CIA kidnaps, it is called "counter-terrorism"; when al Qaeda does the same it is "terrorism".

Next: Pt II of CIA Kidnapping

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Anonymous Kevin Berger said...

If that's the case I'm half-remembering, the funniest thing that stuck to my feeble memory is how un-"24" like that whole Italian caper was : CIA agents living the high life on taxpayers money, complete lack of professionalism, both in "tradecraft" (papertrail, moneytrail, etc, etc,...) and ethics (buying luxuries items on public dime, agents sleeping with each others,...)

IE, and if i'm not muistaken/misremebering, not only an operation that was "dubious" in itself, but also executed in a grifter-cum-amateurish fashion.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 5:46:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Kevin Berger said...

Ah, typos!

Also, and the name of the guy escapes me right now (too lazy to search it), seeing how my mind has been rotten by the internet...

But there is an another 'intelligence' clusterfuck that I found amusing yet revealing at the time.

T'was that blackwater hard boy, seemingly contracted to circumvent pakistanese CIA/ISI intelligence (drone targeting?), who ended up shadowed by two pakistanese counter-intelligence guys, so, of course, shot and killed them... and was immediatly arrested ("citizen-arrested" by the crowd??? Sounds very painful. Can't recall).

All this while an armed "rescue team" rushed to his aid, managed to crash into traffic, killing a bystander in the process IIRC, and subsequently limped back to the embassy (?), fear in their heart and local cops on their heels.

Things like that do go smoother in fiction, don't they?

Can't recall the guy's name right now, but after much ado in Pakistan, he was eventually bartered away - thanks to some kind of big pow-wow between the US and military brass in some gulf emirate, in exchange IIRC for some un-upholded pause in drone strikes, and blood money to the families.

The conservative blogosphere had him as some kind of a mid-level hero while he was in jug, he dropped out of circulation for a while, last time I had read about that fellow was a snippet about him pulling a gun out in a walmart (?) parking dispute in the CONUS, and being hauled off by the cops.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 6:04:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Deryle said...

RE: "we're supposed to be good guys here"
Ol Dave Mason said:
" So let's leave it alone 'cause we can't see eye to eye. / There ain't no good guy, there ain't no bad guy, / There's only you and me and we just disagree."

just sayin'


Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 12:26:00 PM GMT-5  

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