CIA ‘used fake British passports’ in kidnap operation
May 17, 2010 1 Comment
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
British authorities are looking into allegations that a team of CIA agents made use of forged British passports during an abduction operation in 2003. The allegations surfaced last week in Spain, where a team of prosecutors is currently investigating the activities of 13 CIA agents (11 men and two women) who appear to have used the Spanish tourist resort of Majorca as a base for conducting various operations around Europe. Following the example of Italy, which last year convicted several CIA operatives for illegally abducting a Muslim cleric in Milan, Spanish authorities are now considering issuing arrest warrants for the 13 CIA agents. They are all believed to have been involved in the abduction and rendition of German citizen Khaled El-Masri. El-Masri was abducted in Skopje, Macedonia, in 2003, and later transferred on a secret CIA flight to a Syrian prison, where he says he was brutally tortured. He was later released without explanation, once US authorities realized they had the wrong man. According to “a senior source close to the Spanish inquiry” into the affair, some of the CIA agents pretended to be tourists while in Spain, and used forged British travel documents to book rooms in luxury hotels on the island of Majorca, under false names. Britain is currently involved in a diplomatic standoff with Israel, over the latter’s use of forged British passports by a Mossad hit squad, whose members traveled to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, last January, to assassinate Hamas weapons procurer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. The obvious question is whether, if the Spanish allegations turn out to be correct, London will react in a manner similar to its response to the Mossad revelations. In the case of the latter, British authorities expelled Israel’s Mossad resident in London, and are currently barring his replacement, demanding that Israel produces written assurances that it will refrain from using British travel documents in future intelligence operations. On May 13, a British government representative said that the Foreign Office had “just been made aware of the claim that British passports may have been misused” and that it would look into the matter as soon as it was provided with “evidence for this claim”.