While America does everything within its power to stop Edward Snowden from getting to South America, a CIA fugitive has just escaped Italian justice by flying from Latin America to the United States. The former CIA Station Chief, Robert Seldon Lady, was convicted in Italy for participating in kidnapping and torturing a Muslim cleric.

A former CIA operative detained in Panama this week at the request of Italian authorities over his conviction in the 2003 kidnapping of Muslim cleric in Milan was released on Friday morning and was aboard a flight to the United States, U.S. officials said.

Robert Seldon Lady’s release from Panama appeared to avert the possibility that he would be extradited to Italy, where he faces a sentence of up to nine years in prison for his role in the CIA capture of a terrorism suspect who was secretly snatched off a street in Milan and transported to Egypt.

Well at least he didn’t reveal wrongdoing by the U.S. government, that would be unforgivable.

“It’s our understanding that he’s on a plane en route to the United States right now,” a senior Obama administration official said. It was not immediately clear what steps the United States had taken to secure Lady’s release…

Lady was among 23 U.S. government employees — most of whom worked for the CIA — who were convicted in a 2005 case that became a source of embarrassment for the agency. The case also called attention to the controversial practice known as “extraordinary rendition,” in which terrorism suspects secretly captured in the years following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were delivered to governments suspected of engaging in torture.

Despite being wanted by Interpol and Italy, Lady was able to board a flight to the United States where he will likely be protected from having to face justice for kidnapping and torture.

What was left of America’s credibility on the subject of extraditions is pretty much finished now. The message could not be clearer – one set of rules for the U.S. and another set for everyone else. It seems not every country in the world wants to live by those rules.

Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.