Al Qaeda

Extradition to Italian prison looms for former CIA officer detained in Portugal

Sabrina De Sousa faces prison time in Italy for her role in a CIA interrogation.

Sabrina De Sousa faces prison time in Italy for her role in a CIA interrogation.

A former CIA officer detained in Portugal is expected to be extradited Wednesday to Italy where she will be imprisoned for her alleged role in the “extraordinary rendition” of a terror suspect some 14 years ago, according to multiple sources.

The husband of Sabrina De Sousa told Fox News that the former spy -- currently detained in Lisbon -- will likely be flown to a prison near Milan on Wednesday, despite attempts to get the Trump administration to intervene.

De Sousa, who no longer works for the agency, was convicted in absentia in 2009 by Italian courts over a CIA operation authorized by the highest levels of U.S. government -- and one De Sousa says she was not involved in.

If extradited as planned, De Sousa will be the first CIA officer and U.S. diplomat imprisoned over the agency's "extraordinary rendition" program.

De Sousa, 61, was working in Milan as an undercover CIA officer in 2003 when U.S. and Italian intelligence agents abducted radical Egyptian cleric Osama Mustapha Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, and transported him to his native Egypt for interrogation. The U.S. has termed such abductions “extraordinary renditions.”

The authorized operation was part of the controversial program, implemented under President George W. Bush, and entailed taking terror suspects to countries where torture is allowed.

De Sousa says she was skiing with her son in northern Italy on the day Omar was abducted, and phone records obtained by Italian prosecutors corroborated De Sousa's claim that she was some 130 miles away in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, chaperoning her son's school ski trip.

Still, Italy brought "broad charges" against her for a plot she says she had no direct part in.

Italy convicted 25 other Americans in absentia on kidnapping and other charges related to the abduction, but several have since been pardoned and not one has done time in prison. The Italians also convicted Omar in absentia of "criminal association for the purposes of international terrorism" and sentenced him to six years in prison.

De Sousa described herself as a "scapegoat" for a program authorized by the U.S. government.

De Sousa was detained by the Portuguese judiciary police on Feb. 20. Since then, she has spent eight nights in a prison three hours north of Lisbon -- surrounded by fence and razor wire. De Sousa has been allowed only one phone call a day and was being kept in isolation from other prisoners.

On Tuesday, De Sousa was moved to a detention center in Lisbon and told her extradition would likely occur within 24 hours.

Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., an outspoken advocate of De Sousa who is closely involved in the case, confirmed to Fox News that the extradition is expected on Wednesday. Hoekstra said the Italians must take custody of De Sousa by the 10th day of her detention.

A White House official said last week the administration was "trying to intervene" on De Sousa's behalf, but as of Tuesday morning, there was no word about whether it had succeeded.

The State Department also said it was "deeply disappointed" over the extradition order but declined to elaborate on its discussions with officials in Portugal and Italy.

De Sousa, who was born in India and holds both American and Portuguese passports, left the CIA in 2009 and moved to Portugal in April 2015 to be near family.

In October 2015, she was detained at Lisbon's airport on a European arrest warrant while attempting to travel to India. She was later released but ordered to remain in Portugal.

The series of events that followed amount to an international legal nightmare.

Italy first sought extradition of De Sousa with the guarantee of a retrial or appeal with new evidence, acknowledging she had been tried in absentia. Based on these guarantees, the Portuguese courts agreed to extradite.

But in June 2016, Italy sent Portugal a letter saying De Sousa's conviction was final, and no retrial would be granted. In a move that shocked De Sousa and others in the intelligence community, Portugal's high court ordered her immediate extradition.

De Sousa is married to David Ciummo, a 30-year veteran with the U.S. Army.

"It's an outrage," Hoekstra said Tuesday of De Sousa's extradition. "Between the two of them, they have more than 40 years of service to this country."

"What’s happening to her is inherently wrong," he said. "You’ve got an alleged case officer who's going to go to jail [for] doing exactly what the American government ... asked her to do."

Cristina Corbin is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @CristinaCorbin

Cristina Corbin is a Fox News reporter based in New York. Follow her on Twitter @CristinaCorbin.