I Thought The Same Thing

Bill Roggio:

If you are al Qaeda, and you are interested in interdicting or attacking CIA air services that transport captured high value targets, how would you go about finding out how the CIA is moving these prisoners around? Would you:

a) Attempt to penetrate the CIA and dig into the inner workings of these operations.
b) Invest heavily in paying off workers at local airports and in charter airlines across the Middle East and Asia to provide intelligence on suspicious flight activities.
c) Read the New York Times.

If you answered “c”, you are correct. Today’s New York Times provides intimate detail on the charter flights used by the CIA to ferry prisoners across the globe.

I have to admit, when I read the front page of the Times this morning, I thought the same damned thing. Why are they publishing this, particularly when they had a collective six-month aneurysm about Valerie Plame?

Fill me in, if you can.

So much for taking a break.

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39 replies
  1. 1
    Darrell says:

    Why are they publichsing this, particularly when they had a collective six-month aneurysm about Valerie Plame.

    Because they are dishonest hypocritical scumbags. Any other questions?

  2. 2
    Rick says:

    Because that Martha Burke/Augusta National campaign just wasn’t working out, and it’s too early to repeat an analysis of how (ironical, this) Air America is sweeping the country/revolutionized radio.

    Cordially…

  3. 3
    metalgrid says:

    Because the information is then available to everyone and the CIA can use it for misdirection or take other action with that information in mind.

    Now consider the other alternative – the NYT self-censored itself and never published the information, however, the easy means of accessing said information were still available. Now those who actually want to get the information can get their hands on it, the lack of publicity means the CIA has no idea that the information has fallen into the wrong hands and you have a big issue in the making.

    Just because Microsoft believes in security through obscurity, is no reason to run our government the same way.

  4. 4
    licked says:

    Perhaps the NYT is comprimising the operation, but if it’s that important I’m sure the CIA will find another way. They are good at that sort of thing.

    The CIA has proven themselves untrustworthy in the past. With the leash granted by this president who know what they might be up to.

    I haven’t trust our gubment since 1986. I’m offended Cheney is offended by AI. I’m sure the Iraqies are “plenty cabaple” of handling the insurgents. Maybe someone from the NYT should tip off the Iraqi gubment that some people are dying over there.

    I’m suspicious of everyone these days.

    Perhaps the CIA *wanted* the picture of that plane out as a decoy.

    I know I would not want to fly around the world in the POS they depicted. 24 hours to Afghanistan with a tailwind. You’re the CIA. Charter a freakin jet.

  5. 5
    Darrell says:

    I disagree with metalgrid that this information is/was so “available to everyone”. Re-read the article. The NY Times explicitly states that in order to come up with these charter company names and other CIA flight info., they were unable to rely on FAA or other public records. The Times had to investigate the hell out of it, putting the pieces together searching commercial databases, flight logs, interviewing a number of different people, etc.

    In other words, the Times used its considerable resources to “out” how the CIA transported prisoners, essentially doing the legwork for our nation’s enemies putting our agents at risk. This, after the foot stamping hissy-fit they threw over the alleged Bush administration outing of CIA desk jockey Valerie Plame.

    Could Al Queda have obtained the same info. on their own? I suppose anything is possible..but it seems unlikely. I also acknowledge that it’s possible the CIA is using the Times, but that seem unlikely also as I find it difficult to believe they would let it be known which charter companies they use for transport.

  6. 6
    metalgrid says:


    I disagree with metalgrid that this information is/was so “available to everyone”. Re-read the article. The NY Times explicitly states that in order to come up with these charter company names and other CIA flight info., they were unable to rely on FAA or other public records. The Times had to investigate the hell out of it, putting the pieces together searching commercial databases, flight logs, interviewing a number of different people, etc.

    You can disagree with me all you want, yet the fact remains that anyone with the time and the resources to throw at it could have done the same. Rather than the handwringing due to this, the reasonable next step would be to isolate the vulnerable points and remedy them. Not try to supress the information in the hopes that no one takes the initiative to go ferret it out.


    In other words, the Times used its considerable resources to “out” how the CIA transported prisoners, essentially doing the legwork for our nation’s enemies putting our agents at risk. This, after the foot stamping hissy-fit they threw over the alleged Bush administration outing of CIA desk jockey Valerie Plame.

    Right, because the goveernment outing a CIA operative and the news sources providing researched news is the same thing.


    Could Al Queda have obtained the same info. on their own? I suppose anything is possible..but it seems unlikely. I also acknowledge that it’s possible the CIA is using the Times, but that seem unlikely also as I find it difficult to believe they would let it be known which charter companies they use for transport.

    Apparently the same people who sent agents to the US to train and use our own resources against us (I’m just waiting on the news that my tax dollars were subsidizing their training or keeping them going on welfare), obviously wouldn’t have the initiative or the imagination or the resources to go through flight logs and run searches on databases.

    Color me unconvinced.

  7. 7
    Darrell says:

    Right, because the goveernment outing a CIA operative and the news sources providing researched news is the same thing.

    Except for the minor detail that the government did NOT out Valerie Plame. Furthermore, why are you referring to Plame as an “operative”, when in fact she was a desk jockey in Langley headquarters?

    metalgrid wrote: Apparently the same people who sent agents to the US to train and use our own resources against us (I’m just waiting on the news that my tax dollars were subsidizing their training or keeping them going on welfare), obviously wouldn’t have the initiative or the imagination or the resources to go through flight logs and run searches on databases

    Except that, according to the Times itself, it was much more than just going through a few databases and flight logs. It involved quite a number of interviews and lead tracking based on inquiries. After 9/11, don’t ya think it’s just a weee bit farfetched to believe that alarm bells wouldn’t go off if arabs without NY Times press credentials started asking a lot of questions about flight logs and charter flight info.??

  8. 8
    metalgrid says:


    Except for the minor detail that the government did NOT out Valerie Plame. Furthermore, why are you referring to Plame as an “operative”, when in fact she was a desk jockey in Langley headquarters?

    Hey, you’re the one who was trying to equate the two incidents as one and the same. I don’t even think they’re in the same ballpark.


    Except that, according to the Times itself, it was much more than just going through a few databases and flight logs. It involved quite a number of interviews and lead tracking based on inquiries. After 9/11, don’t ya think it’s just a weee bit farfetched to believe that alarm bells wouldn’t go off if arabs without NY Times press credentials started asking a lot of questions about flight logs and charter flight info.??

    With all that funding they get from Saudi Arabias Wahabists, do you think they can’t hire someone to get that information for them? Especially if our infrastructure is so weak that the NYT can get that information? I can just picture the interview:

    NYT: Hi, we’re doing an article on how the CIA moves prisoners around, could you provide us with some data?

    Interviewee: Oh it’s going in the NYT for the whole world to see – sure, here, let me give you all the details.

    Obviously, if the NYT can get this information, there’s something seriously wrong with the way the CIA and other government agencies handles their sensitive information. Instead of seeing this as an opportunity to close vulnerable loopholes, go attack the NYT so they self-censor themselves such that the vulnerabilities still exist and next terrorist attack takes us by surprise as well.

    Let me guess, you’re one of those people who think the whole show of security at our airports and the crackdown on the civil liberties of Americans in the name of combating terrorism actually does something, as opposed to being just a pretense to expand government power and size and just make the sheep feel safer while the truely freedom and liberty loving among us would tend to believe arming every single American would do far more for the security of the nation than the goverment saying “trust us”. We all know what happened the last time we did that, and the time before, and the time before…

  9. 9
    Steve says:

    Goes right back to the treason/patriot discussion.

    This should be considered an act of treason and prosecuted as such.

    Yes – that’s what I said and what I meant – the NYT should be prosecuted for aiding and abetting the enemy in a time of war.

  10. 10
    nancy says:

    There was speculation about thisa couple of months ago. Parts of the article do cite FAA records

    Boston Globe
    March 21, 2005

    Morse in the quote is the vice chairman of the Boston Red Sox

    But Morse said he was ”stunned” by a published report suggesting that the plane might have been used for special renditions, the controversial practice in which terrorism suspects arrested abroad have been forcibly returned to their native countries for interrogation, sometimes with methods that are barred by US law.

    Between June 2002 and January of this year, the plane has flown to Afghanistan, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, Azerbaijan, and the Czech Republic, and made 82 visits to Dulles International Airport outside Washington, according to the Chicago Tribune, which cited records from the Federal Aviation Administration.

    Our tax dollars at work

    The Gulfstream, which is based in Schenectady, N.Y., rents for $5,365 an hour, which works out to $128,760 for a 24-hour day or a little more than $900,000 a week.

  11. 11
    Stormy70 says:

    The New York Times is biased against the War on Terror. Treason? Probably not. Irresponsible and dangerous, probably. It seems like they are on the other side, to quote a little known blogger.

  12. 12
    JPS says:

    Another validation of the old truism that truth can barely keep up with satire, in this case SNL:

    “Mr. Secretary, could you please tell us the exact time and place the invasion will occur?”

  13. 13
    ppgaz says:

    Much ado about nothing.

    If the NYT story’s publication is in violation of law, I am confident that it will be pursued and the approriate action taken.

    If it is not, then all of this is just a bunch of bullshit grist for manipulative churn.

    If the CIA is so helpless that it can’t conduct its operations without being constrained by the work of nosy and pushy reporters, then too bad.

    If those reporters have material that was not legally theirs to have, then let the wheels of justice grind in the appropriate manner.

    That’s why we laws, and courts, you see.

  14. 14
    Aaron says:

    I have researched the hell out of our base locations, including locations of mess halls and barracks.

    I think I’ll publish them as the public has the right to know.

  15. 15
    dorkafork says:

    “Apparently the same people who sent agents to the US to train and use our own resources against us (I’m just waiting on the news that my tax dollars were subsidizing their training or keeping them going on welfare), obviously wouldn’t have the initiative or the imagination or the resources to go through flight logs and run searches on databases.”

    Only now, they don’t have to. They only have to read the New York Times. All the talk about how al-Qaeda could have or was capable of finding out this info is moot. The NYT did it for them.

  16. 16
    ppgaz says:

    If I had the money to pay those rates, I could go out and get a hundred charters tonight before dinner.

    I don’t think the CIA, or any other client, would have any trouble making other arrangements in a heartbeat.

    What did we think they were flying them over on? How do we get thousands of troops to and from Iraq and Afghanistan? Flying carpets, I suppose, if you’re Ali Baba.

    This is a non-story.

  17. 17
    JPS says:

    ppgaz:

    “If the NYT story’s publication is in violation of law, I am confident that it will be pursued and the approriate action taken.”

    This is a purely historic, rather than partisan, quibble: I’m not so sure.

    Early in our involvement in WWII, the Chicago Tribune, whose editors were as fond of FDR as the NYT’s are of Bush today, got their hands on this story about the Office of Naval Intelligence breaking Japanese cipher codes. This could have scuttled our victory at Midway.

    The Roosevelt administration could absolutely have prosecuted, but wisely chose not to. Either the damage was already done, or the Japanese had missed it (which luckily turned out to be the case), and the worst thing they could do was call attention to it.

  18. 18
    ppgaz says:

    I’m afraid your comparison is inapt.

    The identity of a charter aircraft, or for that matter, any civilian aircraft, in a rather obscure operation such as this, is hardly comparable to “scuttling our victory at Midway.”

    The travel arrangements for these “detainees” can be rearranged in five minutes.

    If not … if it were a real secret with really big deal exposure associated with it … it wouldn’t have been handled this way and we wouldn’t know about it.

    Nice try, comparing FDR with George Bush, though. That’s like comparing George Washington to Colonel Mustard.

  19. 19
    Rick says:

    What should be considered is the “public service” aspect of the NYT’s coverage. That is, papers do the “news you can use” bit.

    Now, what public can “use” these details?

    Cordially…

  20. 20
    Kimmitt says:

    Yeah, I’ve been wondering about that for a while; the identity of the charter outfit has been more or less public knowledge for a year or two now.

  21. 21
    Steve says:

    The New York Times is biased against the War on Terror. Treason? Probably not. Irresponsible and dangerous, probably

    So where do we draw the line? At what point do we as Americans and the duly elected government that represents us say enough is enough?

    Lets start with a legal definition:

    Treason:
    Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

    United States Code, Title 18 – Crimes and Criminal Procedure, Part 1 – Crimes, Chapter 115 – Treason, Sedition and Subversive Activities

    Ill agree that adheres to their enemies is open to debate. My opinion is that this is the case. Could it proven in a court of law? No.

    giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere bang on.

    This story:
    -Provides specific operational details.
    -Provides names and locations.
    -Endangers the lives of these pilots and any escort personnel.
    -At a minimum will cause this operation to be abandoned and something less efficient (due to increased security) will have to be created from scratch. This alone could cause delays that turn out to critical and impact other operations on other fronts.

    Do I think it rises to the level of shall suffer death? No. I dont even think that the reporters involved should be charged their job is to dig. I just want to say loud and clear that enough is enough. Id like to see the editor and any executives that green-lighted this story prosecuted and convicted. Not even necessarily any jail time for anyone. Maybe just a huge fine and a treason conviction to add to their history. Mostly just a loud clear signal that enough is enough.

  22. 22
    ppgaz says:

    Steve, you’re kidding, right?

    This is a non-story.

    Nothing happened. Move along.

  23. 23
    ppgaz says:

    In today’s news, the insane Pat Buchanan is referring to Mark Felt as a “traitor.”

    I think that’s the last straw. The rightwing hyenas have now forfeited the right to even use the word “traitor” or “treason” ever again.

    Pat Buchanan, paid liar for a criminal president, calls Felt a traitor?

    Let me be blunt: Shut up, all you rightwing sanctimonious assholes. Stop yelling “treason” every time your silly bubble of non-reality is burst.

    The right has cried wolf about a hundred too many times. The constant effort to beat down opposition using phony patriotism or imaginary “treason” charges isn’t amusing any more. It’s tiresome, and it’s ugly.

  24. 24
    JPS says:

    ppgaz:

    I was not comparing the magnitude of this breach of security to the disclosure of our code-breaking in WWII.

    Nor did I compare Bush to FDR. Although I would in many respects (in criticism as well as praise), I wish you’d wait until I actually do before jumping on me for it.

    No, I was comparing the principle of the situation, because the question on my mind is, Does the American press have any obligation at all to censor itself rather than reveal sensitive information? Some seem to think not.

    As for Buchanan: I realize all us rightwing assholes look alike to you, but Buchanan is a pretty marginal figure. He hates many of the principal opinion-makers on the right, and they cordially return the favor. David Frum wrote a blistering article in National Review a couple of years ago, absolutely slamming the Buchanan strain in conservative thought (specifically as it applies to foreign policy). It warmed the cockles of my tiny little rightwing heart.

  25. 25
    Darrell says:

    Newsflash for ppgaz, Pat Buchanan is neither a conservative nor a Republican.. but don’t let those facts stop you from blathering on about “rightwing hyenas”, etc

    Do we get to rant about ‘left wing hyenas’ anytime Lyndon LaRouche says something stupid? That would make about as much sense

  26. 26
    ppgaz says:

    Tell you what, Darrell. Anytime you want to stop calling anyone who disagrees with you a “leftist”, I’ll agree to dropping the labels.

    Let me know when you want to start the truce.

  27. 27
    ppgaz says:

    JPS: Okay, I can’t argue with your enumeration of all the things you didn’t mean. But the FDR-Colonel Mustard thing was way too good a straight line to pass up.

    As for censorship of the press?

    I fall back on my original post to the thread: If a law was broken, I expect the appropriate action(s) to be taken.

    If not, there is no story here.

    And if you are really interested in “self-censorship” in the press, then I know that your lengthy and exhaustive treatise on all of the various aspects of that will be forthcoming. And of course I know that in those areas where you encounter strong disagreement, which you will, you will defer to the judgement of the larger community.

    I don’t want a censored press, self- or otherwise. I expect them to obey the law, and dig like crazed pit bulls, and publish.

    The self-righteous indignation over this story would be more compelling if the story had any substance to it. As I see it, it does not. There is no story here.

  28. 28
    Rick says:

    Lucky for us, Col. Mustard has what it took to beat Ens. Pulver last November. Or was it Ens. Parker?

    Cordially…

  29. 29
    ppgaz says:

    Right, lucky for us.

    The lying sack of shit is heading for record low approval ratings. A majority doesn’t think his ginned up war was “worth it.” Thirty percent like his Social Security “reform” ideas.

    Lucky is as lucky does, eh?

  30. 30
    ppgaz says:

    Right, lucky for us.

    The lying sack of shit is heading for record low approval ratings. A majority doesn’t think his ginned up war was “worth it.” Thirty percent like his Social Security “reform” ideas.

    Lucky is as lucky does, eh?

    I stole (ripped) this right off the blogosphere today; enjoy:

    You know you’re a Republican when…

    …Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush’s daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a “we can’t find Bin Laden” diversion.

    …trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

    …A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

    …Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

    …the best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans’ benefits and combat pay.

    …providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

    …global warming is junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

    …being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you’re a conservative radio host. Then it’s an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

  31. 31
    JPS says:

    ppgaz:

    “I know that your lengthy and exhaustive treatise on all of the various aspects of that will be forthcoming.”

    No, no treatise. Just this: I think there are things the press is legally obligated to print, that morally and ethically they ought not. Or, when in doubt (i.e., will this help the bad guys kill the good guys? and yes, I do think in those terms when all is said and done), to hold off.

    I don’t believe the law should be made to outlaw all those instances, so I’d ask the media to exert the same restraint that they did in WWII. (With the repeated exception of the Chicago Tribune, which loathed Roosevelt and saw him leading us unnecessarily to war with Germany before it actually broke out.)

    As for record low approval ratings, maybe. Who was the record? The lowest I’m aware of was Harry Truman, 1952: 22 or 23%. I believe the principal complaints were the Marshall Plan, and holding the line in a nasty struggle in Korea with no end then in sight.

  32. 32
    ppgaz says:

    There are things the press is legally obligated to print?

    Wow. More on that, please.

    As for ethics … I am all in favor of good, wholesome and rational ethics debate.

    But I tell you in advance, in my debate rulebook, nobody gets a pass. You don’t get a pass because you start a war on false pretenses, and then expect the press to lay low while you do whatever you want.

    You don’t get a pass because you are a government big shot and you want to hide behind “national security” or any of its evil cousins in order to do whatever you want, unexposed.

    You don’t get to declare in advance what actions are “patriotic” and which ones are not, because that’s my decision. I decide what is patriotic for me, not you.

    You don’t get to browbeat the press, you don’t get to coerce the press, you don’t get to hide from the press, you don’t get to criminalize the press outside the scope of established law. You don’t get to classify and redact your way out of telling the truth.

    Now, let’s have that ethics debate. Figure of speech, of course. Such a debate is outside the purview of this forum. But it’s within the purview of some other forum. So go have it.

  33. 33
    JPS says:

    One more thing for now, ppgaz:

    About that “You know you’re a Republican when…” thing you say you ripped off–I find your strawmen cleverer and more fun to read.

    There are similar collections on Democrats. I don’t get much of a kick out of them, even though I guess I’m supposed to, because they don’t argue fairly.

    Anyway, Bush didn’t lie. He was proven wrong, and to him the risk of being right was higher than he wanted to live with indefinitely. There are ferocious arguments to be had over whether this was a commendable call or an atrocious one, so what good does it do to distort the premise?

  34. 34
    JPS says:

    Posted before seeing your latest, ppgaz. “Obligated” was a misstatement, obviously; meant “permitted” while I was thinking that there can be a moral obligation not to do so.

  35. 35
    ppgaz says:

    Ah, “permiited” works better, thank you.

    Bush did lie. He intended to effect regime change before you and I even heard that he was interested in a war in Iraq. Probably even before 9-11.

    The Downing Street memo and related info pretty much caused that ship to sail already.

  36. 36
    Rick says:

    Regime change in Iraq was stated U.S. policy going back to 1998, for Saddam’s ceaseless violations of the armistice agreement. But after getting the authorization, Clinton regrettably just kicked the can down the road. Gave peace a chance, mayhaps.

    Now here’s a plausible accounting of Democratic Party principle. Now appearing as BDS.

    Cordially…

  37. 37
    ppgaz says:

    Regime was stated as a desirable thing.

    No war plan was based on the idea, though, that we know of.

    But it’s clear now that Bush came into office on a flaccid campaign warning against “nation building” but was looking for a way to unseat Hussein from the get go. I wonder if he even bothered to rationalize the former against the latter? Well, it didn’t seem to matter, even to us voters, then, because nobody would have imagined a reason for war against Iraq unless Hussein did something really naughty.

    Hussein was busy lining his pockets all that time, and had no reason to do anything naughty and thereby attract attention to himself.

    We know the rest. 9-11, trumped up threats, war … and you have to give Bush credit for being consistent … STILL no plans for nation building. Just for provoking a war.

    Now of course he wants us to believe that the whole thing was to “promote freedom and democracy.”

    Yeah, and I believe the crap they print on detergent boxes, too.

  38. 38
    ppgaz says:

    Delete “regime was” and insert “regine change was”.

    -Ed

  39. 39
    UNCoRRELATED says:

    Terrorist Information Bureau

    Winds of Change reports on the latest methodology of leaking info to terrorists

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    Terrorist Information Bureau

    Winds of Change reports on the latest methodology of leaking info to terrorists

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