ROME: The head of Italy s military intelligence agency on Wednesday defended himself and colleagues being investigated for their possible role in the alleged CIA kidnapping of a terrorism suspect in Milan. Nicolo Pollari told a closed-door meeting of the Senate defense committee that the Sismi intelligence agency had nothing to do with illegal acts and would not break the law to help foreign agents. The comments, relayed to reporters by the committee s chairman, were Pollari s first known response since prosecutors questioned him on Saturday over Sismi s possible role helping the CIA abduct a Muslim cleric in Milan and fly him to Egypt. The suspect, an Egyptian named Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, says he was tortured there under interrogation. Pollari s No. 2 and another official were arrested this month and held for more than a week. Gen. Pollari said calmly that our secret services did not violate the law, even in situations that can be defined as border-line, Sen. Sergio De Gregorio, the defense committee s chairman, told reporters. De Gregorio added that although Sismi cooperated with foreign agents, it would not do so with projects that were against the law. Twenty-six Americans, most believed to be CIA agents, face arrest warrants over the Nasr case. Pollari declined to speak with reporters as he left the hearing. Foreign Minister Massimo D Alema said that he intended to free agents from restrictions of state secrecy so that they could collaborate with magistrates. But, speaking before the lower house of parliament, he also said he wanted to avoid damaging the operations of the Sismi spy agency and avoid leaks to reporters, something that has accompanied every step of the Nasr investigation so far. De Gregorio suggested that Pollari would be better able to protect himself in the investigation if he were able to present classified information to magistrates. I think that if Gen. Pollari was free from state secrecy, he would be able to discuss things that relate to secrets that our heads of state are aware of, he said, answering a question about Nasr s abduction. He did not elaborate. Silvio Berlusconi, prime minister at the time of the abduction, has also denied any role and compared magistrates to terrorists for locking up intelligence agency officials meant to protect the country. Any proof of Italian involvement would confirm one of the chief accusations made by Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty in a report last month that European governments colluded with the United States in secret prisoner transfers. Nasr, currently held in an Egyptian prison, had political refugee status in Italy at the time of the alleged kidnap. But he faces an arrest warrant in Italy over suspicion of terrorist activity including recruiting militants for Iraq.