US may not have known of Sgrena rescue operation

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Friday, March 11, 2005 The Italian dailies La Repubblica and Corriere della Sera are reporting that US forces may not have been informed of the operation to rescue kidnapped Italian journalist, Giuliana Sgrena, in which the intelligence agent Nicola Calipari was killed by US troops.

The Italian government disputes this account, and has said that the US was fully aware of the operation on March 4.

La Repubblica is reporting that US forces were aware of Italian intelligence agent Nicola Calipari's presence, but not the specific details of his mission.

Speaking in the La Repubblica newspaper, General Mario Marioli assisted those involved in the operation in Baghdad, by obtaining a special badge for them from coalition forces upon their arrival.

However, as the deputy commander of the coalition forces in Iraq, Marioli reported that he was unaware of Calipari's purpose in Iraq, so he could not tell coalition troops on the ground the details of the Italian mission.

According to La Repubblica, Marioli reported that he "had no contact with US intelligence officers" prior to the shooting.