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Italy spy chief denies involvement in CIA abduction case

[JURIST] Nicolo Pollari, chief of the Italian Intelligence and Security Services [official website], told a closed door meeting of the Italian Senate defense committee that Italian intelligence was not involved in the alleged CIA extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] of Egyptian cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr [Wikipedia profile], also known as Abu Omar. Italian police arrested two intelligence officials [JURIST report] with the Military Intelligence and Security Service (SISMI) [official website; Wikipedia backgrounder] earlier this month in connection with the kidnapping. Prosecutors questioned Pollari [JURIST report] under heavy security on Saturday.

Pollari, along with other senior intelligence members and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi [BBC profile] have denied any role in Nasr's alleged kidnapping by US CIA operatives, which the Council of Europe (COE) [official website] has cited [JURIST report] as an example of the "global spider's web" [COE graphic] of secret prisons and rendition flights operated by the CIA in Europe. COE investigator Dick Marty has said that "it is unlikely that the Italian authorities were not aware of this large-scale CIA operation." Arrest warrants stemming from the 2003 abduction remain for 26 Americans, most of whom are believed to be CIA agents. Reuters has more.

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