Spy Disaster Unfolds Involving “Russiagate” People

(NewsSpace.com) – For years now, there’s been a lot of focus on “Russiagate,” the supposed collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russian agents to interfere in the 2016 election and ensure Trump beat out Hillary Clinton. In the aftermath, US intelligence agencies, including the CIA and FBI, were accused of politicizing the scandal. However, this isn’t the first time the CIA has had its hand in a scandal that brought global attention. In 2003, the agency reportedly participated in what’s now known as the “Milan rendition,” and the top brass are the same players as in Russiagate.

What Was the Milan Rendition?

In 2003, then-President George W. Bush and Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi supposedly approved the abduction of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, better known as Abu Omar, an Egyptian imam. Omar was accused of having ties to Gamaa Islamiya, a terrorist organization, and recruiting people to serve al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Under the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, the agency permitted officers to seize those suspected of participating in terrorist activities or having ties to such organizations. Then they flew the people they captured to secret locations, known as black sites, controlled by the agency, where they would undergo interrogation.

Omar was one such person seized in what became known as the Milan rendition. The CIA snatched him off the street in the Italian city. Agents then transported him to Germany and later Egypt, where he was reportedly tortured and remained in custody until 2004 before agents released him for lack of evidence.

Italy later denied any ties to the rendition, saying it was solely carried out by the US. The country also sought to hold those involved responsible.

The Convictions

In 2009, Italy found 23 Americans guilty of seizing Omar in Milan on suspicion of terrorism. Of those, 22 were CIA officers; the remaining convict was a US Army officer. They were sentenced in absentia three years later but weren’t extradited to Italy to serve their sentences. Basically, they weren’t held accountable.

Additionally, Several members of Sismi, an Italian military intelligence service, were also convicted but later had their sentences overturned on appeal.

CIA Connection

The two scandals are linked because of the involvement of the same CIA directors. For instance, former Director Gina Haspel was the CIA Counterterrorism Center’s deputy chief during the Milan rendition. During the Russiagate investigation, she was the director of the CIA, succeeding John Brennan, who was also a top-ranking CIA official during both incidents.

Speaking to Newsmax, Sam Faddis, a former CIA station chief, said that top-ranking officials used to be grunts who worked their way up through hard work. He says they’re just political bureaucrats, and it’s been that way since the 1990s.

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