So that happened
--State and Main (2002)
--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