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June 28, 2005

Why Oh Why Are We Ruled by These Idiots? (The Italian Situation Edition)

Robert Waldmann tells us what is going on in Italy:

Robert's Stochastic Thoughts: Hassan Osama Nasr was kidnapped in Milan on February 17 2003. On the 23rd of June the Italian GIP Chiara Nobile issued 13 arrest warrents for CIA agents who participated in the kidnapping.... [P]olice and magistrates in Italy are furious with the CIA and the Bush administration.... [T]he person doing [the leaking] (cough Armando cough Spataro) knows that he or she will not be able to bring the agents to trial, and is determined convince the court of public opinion to inflict as much punishment as possible... campaign of leaks... likely to be devastating. In particular, the leakers are... stressing that the CIA has sabotaged the war against terror... CIA agents... incompetent and self indulgent....

Some key nuggets.... "The abduction of Abu Omar forced Italian authorities to abort an extensive case they were building against him. His arrest had been imminent, they said, and formal charges against him are pending." "Abu Omar's disappearance angered several officials who thought they had always cooperated fully with U.S. anti-terrorism efforts, only to be trampled on in this operation." "'Kidnapping Abu Omar was not only a crime against the state of Italy, but also it did great damage to the war on terrorism,' said Spataro, the prosecutor. 'We could have continued the investigation and found evidence on other people. He would be on trial by now instead of missing.'"...

Spataro is going for blood. He also clearly understands which arguments are effective in convincing people in the US who are not convinced already. The next day, anonymous sources opened a new line of attack... CIA agents... incompetent and corrupt.... "[T]abs of thousands of dollars at some of Milan's best hotels and restaurants. They chatted easily on their cellular telephones and gave out passport, frequent-flier and driver's license numbers when booking flights or renting cars. And now they are fugitives....

Note that it is a crime for officials in the prosecutorìs office to talk to the press (it is like revealing grand jury testimony). [The Italian police and prosecutors[ are angry enough not to mind the NY Times reporting the detail that people both with the police and at the procura are talking.... [T]he Italians... had leads useful for an investigation of an international network... this investigation was sacrificed for a chance to torture the one key player who had been identified and placed under surveilance but seems not to have known that he wa giving the Italian police invaluable information until the CIA ruined everything by kidnapping him...

Posted by DeLong at June 28, 2005 05:12 PM