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Profile: Nicolo Pollari

 
  

Positions that Nicolo Pollari has held:



 

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Nicolo Pollari actively participated in the following events:

 
  

Shortly after September 11, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi reportedly puts pressure on Nicolo Pollari, chief of SISMI, Italy's military intelligence service, to provide US with intelligence in an effort to please the Bush administration and make Italy a top US ally. [La Repubblica, 10/25/2005]
People and organizations involved: Nicolo Pollari, Bush administration, Silvio Berlusconi
          

(After October 18, 2001)      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       According to Italy's Repubblica, Nicolo Pollari, chief of SISMI, is disappointed with his attempts to communicate with the American intelligence community. (It is not clear from the reporting what exactly Pollari is dissappointed about. It has been widely interpreted to have meant that Pollari is disappointed about US intelligence's refusal to take SISMI's October 15 report seriously) Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had reportedly asked Pollari to do what he could to tighten relations with Washington (see Shortly after September 11, 2001). According to La Repubblica, the Prime Minister's diplomatic advisor, Gianni Castellaneta, advises Pollari to look in “other directions.” The Italian minister of defense, Antonio Martino, invites Pollari to meet with American neoconservative Michael Ledeen, which he does in December (see December 2001). [La Repubblica, 10/25/2005]
People and organizations involved: Michael Ledeen, Gianni Castellaneta, Antonio Martino, Nicolo Pollari
          

December 9, 2001      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Bush administration sends two defense officials, Harold Rhode and Larry Franklin, to meet with Iranians in Rome in response to an Iranian government offer to provide information relevant to the war on terrorism. The offer had been backchanneled by the Iranians to the White House through Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian arms trader and a central person in the Iran-Contra affair, who contacted another Iran-Contra figure, Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute. Ledeen passed the information on to his friends in the Defense Department who then relayed the offer to National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. Hadley expressed no reservations about the proposed meeting and informed George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, and Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage. According to officials interviewed by the New York Times, the United States Embassy in Rome was not notified of the planned meeting as required by standard interagency procedures. Neither the US embassy nor CIA station chief in Rome learns of the three-day meeting until after it happens (see December 12, 2001). When they do catch wind of the meeting, they notify CIA and State Department headquarters in Washington which complain to the administration about how the meetings were arranged. [Washington Post, 8/9/03; New York Times, 12/7/03; Newsday, 8/9/03] In addition to Ghorbanifar, Ledeen, Franklin, and Rhode, the meeting is attended by Nicolo Pollari, head of SISMI, and Antonio Martino, Italy's minister of defense. [Washington Monthly, 9/2004] According to the Boston Globe, either at this meeting, a similar one in June (see June 2002), or both, Ledeen and Ghorbanifar discuss ways to destabilize the Iranian government, possibly using the Mujahedeen-e Khalq, a US-designated terrorist group, as a US proxy. [Boston Globe, 8/31/2004] Additionally, according to an unnamed SISMI source, Pollari speaks with Ledeen about intelligence his agency has collected (see October 15, 2001) suggesting that Iraq made a deal with Niger to purchase several tons of uranium. SISMI already sent a report to Washington on the matter in mid-October (see October 15, 2001). Reportedly, Pollari has also approached CIA Station Chief Jeff Castelli about the report, but Castelli has since indicated he is not interested in the information. [La Repubblica, 10/25/2005]
People and organizations involved: Antonio Martino, Harold Rhode, Larry Franklin, Michael Ledeen, Manucher Ghorbanifar, Nicolo Pollari, George Tenet, Harold Rhode, Stephen Hadley
          

September 9, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Nicolo Pollari, chief of SISMI, Italy's military intelligence service, meets briefly with US National Security Council officials. [Il Fogglio, 10/28/2005] Present at the meeting are National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice; her deputy, Stephen Hadley; and other US and Italian officials. [AGI online, 10/29/2005; American Prospect, 10/25/2005; Los Angeles Times, 10/28/2005; La Repubblica, 10/25/2005; La Repubblica, 10/26/2005 Sources: Unnamed high-ranking Italian SISMI source, Unnamed Bush administration official] This meeting is not reported until 2005, when Italy's La Repubblica reports that a meeting—arranged through a backchannel by Gianni Castellaneta, the Italian prime minister's diplomatic advisor—took place between Pollari and Hadley on this date. The report is refuted by Italy which insists it was actually a short meeting between Pollari and Rice. Hadley, Italy says, was present but not really part of the meeting. [AGI online, 10/29/2005] The Bush administration also insists the meeting was of little importance. Frederick Jones, a National Security Council spokesman, describes the meeting as a courtesy call of 15 minutes or less. He also says, “No one present at that meeting has any recollection of yellowcake [Uranium oxide] being discussed or documents being provided.” [New York Times, 10/28/2005] It is not clear from the reporting, however, if the meeting acknowledged by Italy and Washington, is in fact the same meeting reported by La Repubblica.
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley, Nicolo Pollari, Gianni Castellaneta
          

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