CIA spy lashes out

2009-11-05 11:12

Washington - A CIA spy sentenced to five years in an Italian prison for her role in a US government-backed kidnapping plot admitted on Wednesday she "broke the law" but felt abandoned by her superiors.

Sabrina DeSousa told ABC television that she and 22 other Americans sentenced in absentia for the CIA's kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric in 2003 "broke the law", but that everything she did was "approved back in Washington".

"And we are paying for the mistakes right now, whoever authorised and approved this," she said, adding that she felt "abandoned and betrayed".

Earlier in the day, an Italian judge convicted 23 Americans and two Italian secret agents in the high-profile "extraordinary rendition" case, prompting statements of "disappointment" from the US capital.

The CIA's Milan station chief at the time, Robert Seldon Lady, was sentenced to eight years in prison and the other Americans to five years, all in their absence.

The two Italians were given three-year prison terms following the first trial involving the transfer of a "war on terror" suspect by CIA operatives thought to have sent scores of people to countries known to practice torture.

DeSousa did not confirm her CIA role, but told ABC her status as a US diplomat should have protected her from prosecution.

The group's target was Osama Mustafa Hassan, an imam better known as Abu Omar, who was snatched from a Milan street on February 17, 2003, in an operation co-ordinated by the CIA and Italian military intelligence.