Ex-CIA officer seeks Italian pardon for role in abduction operation

IntelNews (via Matthew Aid) reports: A former officer of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), who has been convicted in absentia in Italy for his role in an abduction operation, has contacted the Italian president seeking a formal pardon.

Robert Seldon Lady was the CIA station chief in Milan in February 2003, when a team of 23 Americans, most of them CIA operatives, abducted Mustafa Osama Nasr. The CIA suspected the Egyptian-born Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, of working as a recruiter for a host of radical Islamist groups, including al-Qaeda.

In 2005, Italian authorities, which had not authorized Nasr’s kidnapping, convicted Lady, along with 22 other Americans, of abduction. The convictions were delivered in absentia, as the Americans had earlier left the country. Washington has refused to extradite them to Rome.

If a CIA officer guilty of kidnapping can get pardoned, there’s no question that Edward Snowden — who DNI James Clapper this week credited with having initiated a necessary national debate on surveillance — should be granted immunity from prosecution. It’s not going to happen, but it should.

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