THE ITALIAN JOB. It always seemed likely that the Bush administration's practice of kidnapping people off the streets of Europe in order to have them shipped abroad for torture was carried out with at least the tacit consent of some of the relevant governments. But in democracies, governments change. And with Italy now under a center-left government, the investigation into the fate of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr is moving forward to include the arrests of two Italian military intelligence officers who supposedly worked with the CIA in abducting Nasr. Warrants, meanwhile, are still in effect for about two dozen Americans for their activities.
Of all the various bizarre things that have been ordered in the name of the war on terror, this one seems to me to have the biggest "what were they thinking?" factor. It should have been obvious that if American intelligence operatives started kidnapping people as they walked around Western cities, we were going to wind up getting caught. And the long-term outcome of the resulting scandals is likely going to be for us to get much less cooperation from European governments than we could have gotten if we'd proceeded in an above-board manner in the first place.