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Italy replaces spy chief after CIA controversy

Italy’s spy chief was replaced on Monday amid suspicions he was involved in the alleged CIA abduction of an Egyptian cleric, government officials said.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Italy’s spy chief was replaced on Monday amid suspicions he was involved in the alleged CIA abduction of an Egyptian cleric, government officials said.

The office of Premier Romano Prodi said the Cabinet met Monday to name new security officials. Government officials who declined to be named pending the official announcement told The Associated Press that Nicolo Pollari had been replaced.

Pollari was the director of the military intelligence agency SISMI. He is under investigation on suspicion he collaborated with the Americans to abduct Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, an Egyptian cleric and terrorist suspect also known as Abu Omar.

Nasr was allegedly abducted from a Milan street in February 2003 and flown out of Italy from Aviano.

The operation is believed to be part of an alleged CIA “extraordinary rendition” program in which terrorism suspects are transferred to third countries where some allegedly are subjected to torture.