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Last Updated: Friday, 10 March 2006, 16:47 GMT
Secret Wars
First broadcast March 2006

Kidnappings, assassinations, torture: these are just some of the allegations levelled at the US's Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA.

Since the attacks on New York in 2001, the CIA has gone all out to combat threats to US security.

In Secret Wars, the BBC's Security Correspondent Gordon Corera looks at the hugely controversial tactics adopted by the CIA, and asks whether they have indeed made America safer.

Part Two

After a series of major scandals in the 1970s the CIA had been told to clean up its act. The result was a spy agency whose top priority appeared to be the avoidance of trouble. Assassination was formally banned, as was anything else that could bring on a career-ending congressional investigation.

But, after the terrorist attacks on 11 September, the period of caution was over. Cofer Black, the head of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center, would later tell Congress that 9/11 meant the "gloves came off".

Four and a half years later what that actually meant is only now emerging.

Gordon Correra examines claims of extraordinary rendition, and in particular the kidnapping of Islamic cleric Abu Omar by 22 CIA officers from the streets of Milan. Speaking to the Italian prosecutor of this case, the lawyer for the CIA's top man in Milan, an airplane enthusiast who monitors CIA flights and a Swiss air-traffic control official, Gordon tries to discover whether European countries are being economical with the truth in claiming ignorance of CIA practices.

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