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State Department Confirms Ex-CIA Chief Released from Panama Custody  

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former CIA operative Robert Seldon Lady is free from detention in Panama and likely home in the U.S., State Department officials confirmed Friday.

The former CIA agent was released Friday morning after being detained in Panama this week when Italian officials requested his arrest to be extradited. Authorities in Italy requested that Lady be extradited following the 2003 kidnapping of a Muslim cleric in Milan.

“It’s my understanding that he is, in fact, either en route or back in the United States,” Harf told reporters at the daily briefing.  

Lady and 21 other CIA agents, including the agency’s former Italy station chief Jeff Castello, were convicted in absentia in 2009 for capturing a terror suspect off a street in Milan and transporting him to Egypt.  The United States has denied Italy’s request for extradition, where Lady and the others would face sentences of seven to nine years in an Italian prison.

Harf had no further comment about the case, including any details of the negotiations U.S. officials had with Panama to secure Lady’s release.

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