Ex-CIA chief allowed to return to U.S.
Panama on Friday allowed a retired CIA station chief wanted in Italy for his role in the 2003 abduction of an Egyptian Muslim cleric to leave for the United States, permitting the former intelligence agent to avoid an Italian jail cell.
Robert Seldon Lady, the former CIA station chief in Milan, had been arrested earlier in the week as he attempted to cross into Costa Rica from Panama.
Panama offered no explanation for its decision to authorize Lady's release, but Italy's foreign ministry said it respected Panama's action in a sign that none of the countries involved cared to reopen one of the most controversial incidents of the George W. Bush administration's prosecution of its war against terrorism as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“It's my understanding that he is in fact either en route or back in the United States,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said during a daily briefing in Washington.
Lady, 59, was convicted along with 22 other CIA agents for the abduction of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, an Egyptian cleric who U.S. officials said was recruiting radical Muslims for jihad in the Middle East. Nasr, widely known as Abu Omar, later turned up in an Egyptian prison, where his lawyer said he'd been repeatedly tortured.
Lady's detention brought to the fore an issue that leaders in both Italy and the United States had sought to keep out of the limelight.
“It's a sensitive issue, and it is a source of embarrassment to the two countries. We cooperate on all kinds of things,” said Michael Calingaert, a visiting scholar and expert on U.S.-Italian relations at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Former Israeli PM Olmert sentenced to prison for taking campaign money from American
- Japan to participate in joint exercise with U.S., Australia
- Tornado ravages U.S.-Mexico border towns
- Iran to try Washington Post reporter in closed court on spying charges
- 19 officers, 7 soldiers killed in siege of Afghan police compound
- Conservative populist Duda becomes Poland’s president
- ISIS solidifies grip on Syrian town of Palmyra
- Officials claim world duty to Mideast at international forum
- Islamic State terrorists break into Palmyra museum, Syria says
- Chlorine gas attacks in Syria blamed on Assad
- Attacks in Iraq target Shiites