Seema Sirohi on how Sabrina De Sousa, a former US diplomat of Indian origin, was swept up in the undertow of the war on terror. In The Caravan:
Sabrina De Sousa had agreed to meet me earlier this summer, but only after doing a background check of sorts. Diplomatic caution, after all, never fades. It was a sweltering afternoon, and the fit, young-looking 56-year-old walked into a café in downtown Washington, DC, dressed in a black floral dress and heels. For someone with a Europol warrant out against her, she seemed cheerful and upbeat.
Sabrina was engaging yet cautious about revealing the details of what she called her “troubles”. As a former US diplomat, she said, she is “under legal obligation not to discuss details” of her work. (News reports have quoted her former colleagues identifying her as a CIA agent.) Now she has a court case against her in Italy and is fighting the US government to get protection.
In a mildly English-Indian convent-school accent harking back to her years growing up in Bombay, Sabrina raced through names of people related to her case. She was sentenced in 2009 by an Italian court to five years in prison, along with 22 other Americans, following a trial in absentia (none of them has been extradited). Speaking to me, she threw out pointers, counted the landmarks in her struggle, offered up opinions and key dates. She seemed consumed by it all, almost a quasi-lawyer herself. But it also seemed to animate her greatly. Fighting back, she declared, was “a matter of principle”. She called herself “collateral damage” in the war on terror.
An Italian reporter had compared Sabrina to Mata Hari, calling her an “aggressive” CIA agent who had built a chain of relationships in Milan to get information. She was dubbed “the Tiger with stiletto heels and fists of steel”—a description that better sums up her life today, she told me. More:
And here in WPost