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Former CIA agent Sabrina De Sousa (YouTube)

Spy games

Former CIA agent faces prison in Italy over 2003 kidnapping of terror suspect

By WITW Staff on June 9, 2016

A former CIA intelligence agent will be extradited to Italy where she’ll serve a prison sentence after a court rejected her final appeal to overturn her conviction. Sabrina De Sousa, who was working undercover in Italy in the years after the turn of the millennium, was one of 26 people convicted in absentia for her alleged role in the 2003 abduction of terror suspect Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar. Omar was an Egyptian cleric who was detained under what Italy has charged are “extraordinary renditions” used by the United States in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. But De Sousa has always maintained that she wasn’t involved in the kidnapping of Omar. Three years ago, she broke her silence and said that the CIA kidnapped Omar without having any prosecutable evidence against him. She was arrested in October in Portugal, where — in addition to her U.S. citizenship — she’s also a citizen.

Under the controversial rendition program enacted by the Bush administration, terror suspects were kidnapped and taken to covert locations where they were interrogated and, often, tortured. President Obama has since ended the program. De Sousa claims she never had anything to do with the program, and has been one of its outspoken critics. But she was unable to present that as evidence in her case. She said she was never formally informed of the charges against her, and was prevented from using confidential U.S. information that might have cleared her in the case.

De Sousa’s Italian attorney is hoping that the government there will grant her clemency — it’s done so for others who were convicted in the case. However, De Sousa is not taking anything for granted. She even sent a letter to Pope Francis, who has condemned the use of renditions, asking for help. Below, watch a video of a 2013 interview in which De Sousa discusses why, after a decade in which she attempted to report wrongdoing through internal channels at the CIA and then through Congress, she finally broke her silence on the case.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.