Moussa Koussa, long-time agent of the Axis of Evil
Defected Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa has reportedly been in contact with American authorities over counterterrorism issues.

The former senior official developed a close working relationship with Washington when he was the head of Libya's intelligence service a few years ago, former CIA official Vince Cannistraro told the prominent US radio broadcaster NPR.

On Wednesday, Koussa resigned as Libya's foreign minister and defected to Britain as troops loyal to ruler Muammar Gaddafi and opposition forces clashed in the North African country.

The CIA official was stationed in Italy in the late 1980s when Koussa was leading Libya's intelligence service.

The US considered Libya as a serious terrorist threat in the 1980s and 1990s, when Washington bombed Tripoli and the international community imposed economic sanctions on the country.

Libya once again became useful to Americans following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

"Moussa Koussa was very smart, and he guided Libya's foreign policy to coincide with the Americans and the British as a way of getting out from under the sanctions," Cannistraro said.

Koussa helped convince Gaddafi to give up his nuclear weapons program and turned Libya into a key US ally on counterterrorism, turning over al-Qaeda operatives in the country to American authorities.

"Whatever Moussa's personal history was, both we and the British government were able to overcome it for broader national interests with regard to [weapons of mass destruction] and mutual interests when it came to fighting al-Qaeda," Cannistraro said.

Koussa graduated from Michigan State University in the late 1970s with a degree in sociology and was considered as someone the American spy agency CIA could work with.