First to arrive in Milan was the surveillance team, and the hotels they chose were among the best Europe has to offer. Especially popular was the gilt-and-crystal Principe di Savoia, with acres of burnished wood paneling and plush carpets, where a single room costs $588 a night, a club sandwich goes for $28.75, and a Diet Coke adds another $9.35.
According to hotel records later obtained by the Milan police investigating Abu Omar’s disappearance, two CIA operatives managed to ring up more than $9,000 in room charges alone. The CIA’s bill at the Principe for seven operatives came to $39,995, not counting meals, parking and other hotel services….
Once Abu Omar was safely behind bars in Cairo, some of the operatives who had helped put him there split up into twos and threes and headed for luxury resort hotels in the Italian Alps, Tuscany and Venice.
Hotel records indicate at least two couples on those trips shared the same rooms. Asked if there had been some operational or other official reason for the ultra-expensive hotels and side trips, the senior U.S. official shrugged. “They work hard,” he said.
Oh, and by the way, according to Milan’s chief anti-terrorism prosecutor, at the time that Abu Omar was captured, the police already had him under surveillance and were preparing to arrest him. It’s a good thing we Yanks understand that Nine Eleven Changed Everything and didn’t bother with this whole “arrest and trial” nonsense. After all, what do the Italian police know about terrorism?