Feature

Can the CIA really be that dumb?

The week's news at a glance.

Italy

Paolo BiondaniCorriere della Sera

The CIA doesn’t try very hard to cover its tracks, said Paolo Biondani in Milan’s Corriere della Sera. As a result of its clumsiness, an Italian judge last week issued arrest warrants for 13 American agents. The Americans “apparently violated Italian sovereignty” in 2003 by kidnapping Egyptian-born militant cleric Abu Omar, the imam at a prominent Milan mosque, and spiriting him off to Egypt to be interrogated and tortured. While conducting surveillance of Abu Omar and preparing his kidnapping, the agents were hardly discreet, littering Milan with evidence that has now wound up in Italian courts. The agents slept “in five-star hotels like the Hilton and the Prince of Savoy,” where their passport photos are now on file. And they used Italian phones to communicate with each other, with the U.S. Consulate, and with the U.S. air base from which the plane bearing Abu Omar took off for Cairo, so the times and locations of all the calls are on record. Could the CIA really be so “naive” and sloppy? Or were they so careless because the Italian government secretly “gave permission” for an American spy operation on our soil?

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