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Profile: SISMI


Positions that SISMI has held:




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SISMI actively participated in the following events:


Early 2000      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Antonio Nucera, deputy chief of the SISMI center in Viale Pasteur in Rome, telephones Rocco Martino, an Italian information peddler and former SISMI agent and tells Martino of a SISMI intelligence asset working in the Niger Embassy in Rome who is in need of money and who can provide him with documents to sell. [La Repubblica, 10/24/2005; Il Giornale, 11/6/2005; Il Giornale, 9/21/2004; Sunday Times, 8/1/04; Financial Times, 8/2/04 Sources: Antonio Nucera, Rocco Martino] According to Martino, “SISMI wanted me to pass on the documents but they didn't want anyone to know they had been involved.” [Financial Times, 8/2/04; Sunday Times, 8/1/04]
People and organizations involved: SISMI, Antonio Nucera, Rocco Martino

(Between Late 2000 and September 11, 2001)      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       According to an October 2005 report by the Italian weekly La Repubblica, official stamps and letterhead stolen (see January 2, 2001) from the Niger embassy are used to fabricate a set of forged documents implicating Iraq in an attempt to purchase 500 tons of uranium oxide, also known as “yellowcake,” from Niger. [La Repubblica, 10/24/2005; Corriere della Sera, date unknown, cited in Talking Points Memo, 10/31/03; New Yorker, 10/20/03; Agence France Presse, 7/19/03; Reuters, 7/19/03 Sources: Unnamed Senior US intelligence officials] Material taken from real SISMI documents from the 1980s concerning Iraq's yellowcake purchases from Niger during that period are also incorporated into the set of forged documents. [La Repubblica, 10/24/2005; San Francisco Chronicle, 10/30/2005] It is not clear who precisely forges the documents. La Repubblica, in a 2005 article, seems to imply that the deed is done by Rocco Martino, an Italian information peddler, and Antonio Nucera, the deputy chief of the SISMI center in Viale Pasteur in Rome. [La Repubblica, 10/24/2005] An August 2004 report in the Financial Times, however, reports that according to Martino, “Italian foreign intelligence service, the SISMI, had forged the documents and had arranged for them to be passed to him by an official of Niger's embassy in Rome (see March 2000).” [Financial Times, 8/2/04]
People and organizations involved: Antonio Nucera, Rocco Martino, SISMI, France

Before September 11, 2001 or in October 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Rocco Martino, an Italian information peddler reportedly sells a collection of mostly forged documents (though it is not clear precisely what documents these are) to the Direction G�n�rale de la S�curit� Ext�rieure (DGSE), France's intelligence agency, to whom he has been selling documents since 1999 (see (After June or July 1999)). The documents suggest Niger agreed to sell uranium to Iraq in 2000. SISMI, Italy's military intelligence service, is reportedly aware of the sale, and may have actually arranged it. French intelligence quickly determines the documents are not authentic. [Knight Ridder, 10/25/2005; La Repubblica, 10/24/2005; Sunday Times, 11/6/2005] It is not clear when, precisely, the documents are given to the French. According to the Italian La Repubblica, the transaction takes place before September 11. [La Repubblica, 10/24/2005] However according to the Sunday Times' sources, DGSE receives the documents in October 2002, long after the documents are reported to have been fabricated (see (Between Late 2000 and September 11, 2001)). [Sunday Times, 11/6/2005]
People and organizations involved: France, SISMI, Antonio Nucera, Rocco Martino

Shortly after September 11, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the CIA station chief in Rome, Jeff Castelli, reportedly asks SISMI to provide the US with any useful intelligence it might have. [La Repubblica, 10/25/2005]
People and organizations involved: Jeff Castelli, SISMI

(Late September 2001-Early October 2001)      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       According to author James Bamford, SISMI passes on details of the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal “to the Executive Committee of the Intelligence and Security Services (CESIS), which in turn passe[s] it on to the Faresine, the Italian Foreign Ministry, and to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi at his office in Rome's Palazzo Chigi. Only the Farnesina raise[s] ‘strong objection’ and ‘reservations’ about the report—primarily from the African Countries Directorate. They [are] greatly concerned about the reliability of the information.” [Bamford, 2004, pp 303]
People and organizations involved: Italian Foreign Ministry, Committee of the Intelligence and Security Services, Silvio Berlusconi, SISMI

(Mid-October 2001)      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Following a number of meetings in Rome and London between SISMI, Italy's military intelligence, and the British MI6 [Bamford, 2004, pp 303-304] , SISMI provides the British with an intelligence report on Iraq's alleged efforts to obtain uranium from Niger. The report—delivered by Rocco Martino under the surveillance of SISMI—is reportedly based on the collection of mostly forged documents put together in Italy (see (Between Late 2000 and September 11, 2001)). The MI6 will include this information in a report it sends to Washington saying only that it was obtained from a “reliable source.” Washington treats the report as an independent confirmation of the Italian report (see October 15, 2001) and French report (see November 22, 2002). [Independent, 11/6/2005; La Repubblica, 10/25/2005; La Repubblica, 10/24/2005; San Francisco Chronicle, 10/30/2005]
People and organizations involved: Rocco Martino, UK Secret Intelligence Service, SISMI

November 3, 2005      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Italian lawmaker Senator Massimo Brutti states that in January 2003 Italy's military intelligence service, SISMI, warned the United States that its reporting (see March 25, 2002) (see October 15, 2001) (see February 5, 2002) on Iraq's purported attempts to procure uranium from Niger were wrong. Brutti says he is not sure whether this warning was sent before or after President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address (see January 28, 2003). “At about the same time as the State of the Union address, they (Italy's SISMI secret services) said that the dossier doesn't correspond to the truth,” Sen. Massimo Brutti tells journalists after he and other lawmakers on a parliamentary commission were briefed by SISMI's head, Nicolo Pollari, and Gianni Letta, a top aide to Premier Silvio Berlusconi. [Associated Press, 11/3/2005 (B)] Shortly after making the statement, Brutti calls the Associated Press and says his earlier comments were made in error. There was no warning in January 2003, he says. He also says lawmakers were told during the briefing that Italian intelligence did not have “a role in the dossier that was supposed to have demonstrated that Iraq was in an advanced phase of possession of enriched uranium.” [Associated Press, 11/3/2005 (B); Reuters, 11/3/2005]
People and organizations involved: SISMI, Central Intelligence Agency

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