Small Wars Journal

The Antiterror Spy Left Out in the Cold

The Antiterror Spy Left Out in the Cold - Wall Street Journal's ‘The Weekend Interview’ With Robert Seldon Lady, by Matthew Kaminski.

When the anniversary of 9/11 came around this year, Robert Seldon Lady was moving between low-end hotels around Miami. An international arrest warrant keeps him from returning to his home in Panama. He says he's flirting with personal bankruptcy, fears for his life, and is "getting pretty desperate." His marriage is broken. He blames this hard luck on his former employer, the Central Intelligence Agency.

A decade ago, Mr. Lady served on the front lines of America's antiterror efforts after 9/11, heading up the agency's base in Milan. In the 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush credited him and his colleagues, albeit not by name, for dismantling several al Qaeda cells in that Italian city. "We've got the terrorists on the run," Mr. Bush said. "We're keeping them on the run." Mr. Lady's Italian stint capped a near quarter-century covert CIA career in Latin America, Asia and Europe.

Three weeks later and a year before his planned retirement, Mr. Lady helped CIA contractors and agents snatch an Egyptian Islamist off the streets of Milan and deliver him to an interrogation cell in Cairo. This so-called extraordinary rendition—one of 130 or so carried out by the Bush administration—set in train events that soured America's relations with Italy and upended the life and career of Mr. Lady and other CIA agents…

Read on.