By STEPHEN GREY
and DON VAN NATTA Jr.
Published: June 26, 2005
European counterterrorism officials have pursued a policy of building criminal cases against terrorism suspects through surveillance, wire-taps, detective work and the criminal justice system. The United States, however, has frequently used other means since Sept. 11, 2001, including renditions - abducting terror suspects from foreign countries and transporting them for questioning to third countries, some of which are known to use torture.
Those two approaches seem to have collided in the case of an Egyptian cleric, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, or Abu Omar, who led a militant mosque in Milan.
By early 2003, the Italian secret police were aggressively pursuing a criminal terrorism case against Mr. Nasr, with the help of American intelligence officials. Italian investigators said they had told the Americans they had strong evidence that he was trying to build a terror recruitment network, possibly aimed for Iraq if the United States went forward with plans to topple Saddam Hussein.
On Feb. 17, 2003, Mr. Nasr disappeared.
When the Italians began investigating, they said, they were startled to find evidence that some of the C.I.A. officers who had been helping them investigate Mr. Nasr were involved in his abduction.
"We do feel quite betrayed that this operation was carried out in our city," a senior Italian investigator said. "We supplied them information about Abu Omar, and then they used that information against us, undermining an entire operation against his terrorist network."
He and other senior Italian officials in Milan's police and prosecutor's office were angry enough to answer detailed questions about the case, but insisted on anonymity because the investigation is continuing.
"This whole investigation has been very difficult because we've been using the same methods we used against organized crime to trace the activities of people we considered to be our friends and colleagues," the senior Italian investigator said. "It has been quite a troubling affair."
looks like another of the 'coalition of the willing' is changing its mind. I wonder if da Prezidense and Toady Blair are feeling the heat yet.