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U.S. Warned Germany on Extraditing CIA Agents, WikiLeaks Shows

The U.S. warned Germany in 2007 that an extradition request for 13 Central Intelligence Agency operatives suspected of mistakenly abducting a German citizen more than three years earlier would have a “negative impact” on relations, a document obtained by WikiLeaks.org showed.

A senior U.S. diplomat “pointed out that our intention was not to threaten Germany, but rather to urge that the German government weigh carefully at every step of the way the implications for relations with the U.S.,” according to a classified diplomatic cable dated Feb. 6, 2007.

Days before, Munich prosecutors obtained arrest warrants for the 13 agents for the alleged abduction of Khaled el-Masri, who said he was seized by the CIA and taken to a secret prison in Afghanistan. The German government decided to withhold an extradition request after consulting with the U.S.

The leaked cable is one of the 251,287 documents being published this week by WikiLeaks.org. The German government said it “regrets” the publication of the documents, though it says the revelations won’t harm cooperation with the U.S.

The el-Masri incident became a diplomatic issue in 2004, when U.S. authorities told senior German officials that a German passport holder had been abducted based on mistaken identity. El-Masri said he was seized while on holiday in Macedonia on Dec. 31, 2003, and then beaten and interrogated at a U.S. facility in Afghanistan.

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