The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Italian Court Convicts Operatives: What About the Higher-Ups?


Horton is an attorney specializing in international law and human rights. He is also a legal affairs contributor to Harper's Magazine, where he writes the blog No Comment.

He said today: "The 23 American officials convicted were involved in a conspiracy to seize Abu Omar, who is an Egyptian cleric, while he was in Italy. They evidently wanted to take him back to Egypt, and turn him into an agent who would spy for them, for the CIA. ...

"The convicted Americans face arrest only if they travel outside the United States, since U.S. authorities have made it clear that they will not cooperate with European authorities pursuing CIA kidnapping cases. ...

"The court also found that three individuals had diplomatic immunity and thus would also escape punishment despite copious evidence establishing their guilt. Among them was the CIAaEUR(tm)s former Rome station chief, Jeff Castelli, whom prosecutors saw as the plot's ringleader."

Horton added that further investigation could still lead to prosecution of those up the chain of command. One possibility is Stephen Kappes, "who is now second in command at the CIA."

Background: One of the CIA operatives convicted in the kidnapping spoke last night to ABC News. Sabrina De Sousa stated: "Clearly, we broke a law, and we're paying for the mistakes right now of whoever authorized and approved this." The ABC interview was excerpted on Democracy Now. The program also interviewed Armando Spataro, the Italian counterterrorism prosecutor who brought the case.

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