updated 6/25/2008 4:10:52 PM ET 2008-06-25T20:10:52

The home computer of a former CIA station chief in Milan contained surveillance photographs of an Egyptian cleric abducted on a Milan street, an anti-terrorism investigator testified Wednesday.

Angelo Foglieri testified at the trial of 26 Americans charged with kidnapping Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, from a Milan street on Feb. 17, 2003 — allegedly as part of the CIA's so-called extraordinary rendition program.

Foglieri told a court that Robert Seldon Lady's computer contained three photographs of the cleric taken in mid-January 2003, a month before the alleged abduction, that appeared either to have been taken in rapid succession or to be frames grabbed from a video.

Foglieri ruled out the possibility that the photograph on Lady's computer could have come from the Milan anti-terrorism police, with whom Lady frequently exchanged information on terror suspects.

"When we found those photographs, I looked in our database. On that day, Jan. 14, we had no surveillance" of the suspect, Foglieri said.

Alleged terror ties under investigation
Foglieri's testimony amplified that of his boss, Bruno Megale, who during two days of testimony provided a broad picture of how Italy itself was investigating Nasr's alleged terror ties and descriptions of the abduction based on witness statements.

He also gave an idea of the technical means by which his investigators later pieced together the alleged involvement of American and Italian intelligence in the plot.

Italian military intelligence agents have also been charged in the case.

Foglieri said his analysis of Lady's computer showed that the CIA station chief had done a search on the U.S.-based travel Internet site Expedia.com for routes from the Milan street where Nasr lived as well as the Milan street where he regularly attended a mosque, to Aviano, site of a U.S. air base.

Investigators also found an e-mail message written by Lady at the end of January in which he stated that it was unlikely he would be available for a trip in early February because of an important work matter, as well as evidence that he had made a flight reservation from Zurich to Cairo departing on Feb. 4, 2003.

Prosecutors allege that Nasr was transferred by road from Milan to the U.S. Air Base in the northern town of Aviano, then flown to the U.S. Ramstein Air Base in southwestern Germany, before being flown to Cairo, where he was held and allegedly tortured by Egyptian security forces.

While Nasr is now free, it is unlikely that Egyptian officials will allow him to go to Milan to testify in the case, his lawyers have said, noting that his passport has been confiscated.

Many of the U.S. suspects have been identified only by aliases. They are not attending the trial, and their court-appointed lawyers have said they have had no way to contact them. Lady retired and left Italy before the indictments were handed down.

No CIA comment on the case
The CIA has not commented on the case, and U.S. officials have said that no American would be handed over for trial even if Italy seeks their extradition, which no Italian government has so far done despite repeated requests by prosecutors.

Lady's computer also contained a list of about 70 hotels in and around Milan used as a reference by the U.S. Embassy and consulate, which helped investigators identify the Americans allegedly involved in the plot, according to testimony by Foglieri and another anti-terrorism agent, Dario Martinelli.

Martinelli said investigators first used cell phone traffic to identify hotels in Milan and elsewhere in northern Italy where many of the U.S. suspects allegedly gathered to plan and carry out the plot during January and February 2003. Once the cell phone traffic was narrowed to a cell tower, Martinelli said he and another agent visited hotels in the radius to see if Americans had stayed there during the time frame in question. A second search, based on the list in Lady's computer, turned up more names.

The hotel and phone records show a movement of U.S. agents toward Milan in January. Some later dispersed to the coastal city of La Spezia and Florence before returning to Milan shortly before the abduction, Martinelli said. Others traveled on to Venice, not far from Aviano, and the northern city of Bolzano near the Austrian border.

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