CIA Agent: Bush Officials Threw Us 'Under Bus' over Rendition

A former CIA operative is speaking out for the first time about a snatch-and-grab operation in the streets of Milan nearlty a decade ago that led to the victim’s torture and extended imprisonment by saying that high-level Bush officials were systematically shielded from responsibility while lower-level operatives were indicted for the crime.

In a series of interviews with McClatchy’s Jonathan Landay, the CIA’s Sabrina De Sousa described cables between Italian and Washington officials involved with the kidnapping of cleric Osama Mustapha Hassan Nasr (aka Abu Omar) in 2003 and says that both governments cooperated in “scape-goating a bunch of people . . . while the ones who approved this stupid rendition are all free.”

“It’s always the minions of the federal government who are thrown under the bus by officials who consistently violate international law and sometimes domestic law and who are all immune from prosecution,” De Sousa said. “Their lives are fine. They’re making millions of dollars sitting on (corporate) boards.”

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The former CIA operative, she resigned from the agency in 2009, says that the rendition program was approved of at the highest levels but that those officials—including President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, and CIA Director George Tenet—will never be held accountable.

“I find this coverup so egregious,” she said when asked about her decision to speak out now. “That’s why I find it really important to talk about this. Look at the lives ruined, including that of Abu Omar. And I was caught in the crossfire of anger directed at U.S. policy.”

She also made clear reference to other government whistleblowers in terms of what she thought might be the consequences for voicing her opinions. “You’ve seen what’s happened lately to anyone who has tried to disclose anything,” she said, alluding to people like Bradley Manning and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

As Landay reports:

De Sousa has spoken to the media in the past, but always denied she was a member of the clandestine service by saying she was operating in Italy as a ‘diplomat.’

“Despite the scale of the human rights violations associated with the rendition program,” she said, “the United States hasn’t held a single individual accountable.”

Among the specific accusations leveled by De Sousa, McClatchy reports:

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