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An Outing In My Neck of the Woods

James Taranto points to an "outing" by the L.A. Times in my neck of the woods (North Carolina) and makes a comparison to the Plame case. I agree with Taranto, and with Clarice Feldman, who has been covering the trial of Scooter Libby (here and here), that this case in the L.A. Times about three pilots flying CIA rendition flights who have been indicted in a German court is a real outing. Their real names were not disclosed, but they might as well have been.

Flight records show that Aero Contractors, based in Smithfield, N.C., operated the plane that carried Masri from Macedonia to Afghanistan. The charter aircraft company has flown scores of sensitive missions for the CIA and has played a key support role in counter-terrorism operations since the Sept. 11 attacks, according to former agency officials.

The three pilots in the Masri rendition case live within a 30-minute drive of the guarded Aero hangar and offices at the rural Johnston County airport...

In real life, the chief pilot is 52, drives a Toyota Previa minivan and keeps a collection of model trains in a glass display case near a large bubbling aquarium in his living room. Federal aviation records show he is rated to fly seven kinds of aircraft as long as he wears his glasses.

His wife, reached by phone at her office, said her husband had done no wrong. "He's just a pilot," she said.

His copilot, who used the alias Fain, is a bearded man of 35 who lives with his father and two dogs in a separate subdivision. He called home during a subsequent mission from the Royal Plaza Hotel on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza, according to records collected by Spanish investigators from the Guardia Civil.

The third pilot, who used the alias Bird, is 46, drives a Ford Explorer and has a 17-foot aluminum fishing boat. Certified as a flight instructor, he keeps plastic models of his favorite planes mounted by the fireplace in his living room in a house that backs onto a private golf course here. His wife declined to comment.

I am familiar enough with this part of North Carolina to know that it would not take a genius to locate these men (particularly the third pilot) and their families. These men were using aliases for a reason. The L.A. Times did not provide Google Maps to their homes, but they did give anyone who wanted to track these men down, a real jump on locating them.

Update: There is some interesting information posted at Pirate's Cove regarding whether or not an individual needs to be a CIA employee, rather than a contractor, in order to be covered by the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (section 606).
(4) The term "covert agent" means--

(A) a present or retired officer or employee of an intelligence agency or a present or retired member of the Armed Forces assigned to duty with an intelligence agency--

(i) whose identity as such an officer, employee, or member is classified information, and

(ii) who is serving outside the United States or has within the last five years served outside the United States; or

Update II: Patterico, who is always up to speed on the latest L.A. Times outrage, has more.


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Comments (31)

If I were a CIA guy, and so... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

If I were a CIA guy, and some limp-wrist from the LA Times came a'knockin', I'd show him my waterboarding techniques . . .

Stupid bastards. Maybe we should have a draft just so these idiots can see what the military have been dying for.

Having these perps serving ... (Below threshold)
mshyde:

Having these perps serving is not a good idea.
I'm sure troops would know this type would
never have their backs.
If these people are so irresponsible in outing
covert agents during a war, what would they do
to friends and family? Because of course it's
all about the money.

Call them stupid, is implyi... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Call them stupid, is implying they didn't know what they are doing. Not that what they are doing is clever either.

They gave enough info so that some other news agency or blogger will track them down and publish their names. Once that happens they'll go to town on them and have their public trial (court trial or not).

PO'd pilot, B-52H, a hundre... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

PO'd pilot, B-52H, a hundred 500 pound bombs, the LA Times building at noon. Sounds like a plan to me.

But don't call Peeeloshi an... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

But don't call Peeeloshi and Murtha on they're stupidity. She'll call the boss and whine and cry, that is if he ever takes her call.
You'll read about it and it's the most stupid thing a politician has did in years, or was that this morning for the dhimmi's. It's becoming a habit. They should all know that no one now questions their patroitism, it's no longer a question, but a fact they have none. Hey Nan, cry me a river.

Ease back there, Scrapiron.... (Below threshold)
Ted:

Ease back there, Scrapiron. That last comment had nothing to do with the story.

What's bad for the g... (Below threshold)
Hugh:


What's bad for the gander(s) was ok for the goose!! I love you folks, especially Mitchell and your homophobic references to the LA Times writers.

Some jailtime for some LA T... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Some jailtime for some LA Times editor is what's called for. Why is it so unlikely to happen? Who do we write to?

I thought the left wanted ... (Below threshold)
Gianni:

I thought the left wanted convictions when a CIA employee was 'outed'?

Theyre consistent arent they?

GianniHave to agre... (Below threshold)
Allen:

Gianni

Have to agree with you on that. Who knows how many people have been killed when Chaney and Scooter outed Plame. How many people will be killed because some slime outed the pilots?

Publish the same kind of in... (Below threshold)
Henny Penny:

Publish the same kind of information about an LA Times "journalist", however, and you'll be in front of a judge by lunchtime. Wonder how they "discovered" the model airplanes on the mantel. Maybe by sneaking up to the window in a fit of journalistic sanctimony?

And Hugh, love your homophyllic interest in Mitchell, although I doubt he's interested. Can't blame you for trying, but this is not the place to troll for new friends. You might be a bit more discrete, considering this is a conservative blog and all. Then again, I wonder if you're capable of posting anything that didn't include a personal insult.

Who knows how many peopl... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

Who knows how many people have been killed when Chaney and Scooter outed Plame.

Allen, do you still believe this? If there anything the Libby trial has shown, it is that Cheney and Libby did not "out" Plame. As if she was covert at all.

As for this story, outing CIA agents is only bad when it is supposedly done by the Bush Administration. Other than that, this is just referred to as legitimate whistle-blowing by the MSM.

Henny:At first I w... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Henny:

At first I went huh(?) at your response and then I realized it was your ignorance at work - no personal insult intended, just an observation. You might, even being a conservative, learn what phrases like "limp wristed" mean and what the definition of homophobic is. Not sure what homophylic means...enlighten me please.

Allen, how exactly does one... (Below threshold)
Gianni:

Allen, how exactly does one out someone that isnt covert?

Sorry to bring this thread ... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

Sorry to bring this thread further off-topic, but Hugh, the use of the term limp-wristed does not mean someone using it is homophobic. Little projection on your part. Even though I know the term is associated with homosexuals, you're only inserting your own prejudices into Mitchell's comment.

Portland, Oregon news stati... (Below threshold)

Portland, Oregon news station KATU Channel 2 did a similiar thing yesterday by an investigative report on how a small private jet located in Oregon has a phony nonexistent owner and is actually part of a covert CIA operation to abduct terrorism suspects from around the world and turn them over to detention centers located around the world, including one in Egypt where torture is common.

On one hand, there is the instinct of a journalist to find a "hot scoop" in order to justify their paycheck. On the other hand, it must be weighed whether any of these disclosures could have a potentially negative impact on national security. This is a difficult balance that involves wise judgement on the part of the press versus the right of the public to know about government activities.

You know, Hugh has a point.... (Below threshold)
Rich Fader:

You know, Hugh has a point. I have gay friends who are more manly than the average L.A. Times writer.

J.R.Please give me... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

J.R.

Please give me some commonly accepted/used non-homosexul references to the phrase limp wristed please.

Hugh, whether the phrase is... (Below threshold)

Hugh, whether the phrase is commonly used/accepted doesn't matter. That's like saying if you're shown that others accept it, then you'll accept it too. Somehow, I think that's unlikely. It's the way you took it. Period. I read it and didn't automatically assume it stemmed from homophobia. Now, if he were talking about a San Francisco reporter, I might see it differently :-)

I think the real point here is the level of detail the reporter provided to the whole world about these men. As if he were saying, "I can't provide their names, but I'll make damn sure I give enough information to help someone figure out who they are." Have you nothing to say about that?

Hugh, what you're referring... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

Hugh, what you're referring to is stereotyping. And just because someone uses a gay stereotype does not mean they are homophobic. Get it? Hell, I've heard gay people use worse terms than that about other gays, would they be homophobic?

J.R.You really oug... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

J.R.

You really ought to give that rationalization up.

H

It's a pity you think that.... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

It's a pity you think that. So every time someone makes a stereotypical reference or joke you then assume that person is a homophobe, racist, sexist, and etc?

Can one be for freedom of s... (Below threshold)
Gloria Wise:

Can one be for freedom of speech, yet insist on political correctness concurrently?

No.... (Below threshold)

No.

yeeee-haaaaaa! Them dang p... (Below threshold)
Boobjonezyouniversitigraditate:

yeeee-haaaaaa! Them dang pansy homo's! You know they must be from L.A.! They think just because these guys comitted a crime and were charged for it they can go giving out the fake names they used and the kind of boats they have? They should be locked up for treason! Good job Lorie!

Sad story. Sadder thread o... (Below threshold)
epador:

Sad story. Sadder thread of comments.

Let me tell you something.<... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Let me tell you something.

I have never had a relationship with that man, Mr. Hugh, and I have never lied about.

Not a single time [finger is wagging]

The "limp wrist" reference had nothing to do with the sexual preference of the reporters at the LAT, but related to their pampered little world, in which they are free to "prance" [no homophobic intent] about, indulging themselves [no homphobic intent] at the expense of others, and this nation's security.

They're being coddled[no homophobic intent] by their masters, and the Dems, and fellow journos, was all I was attempting to reference.

They live in a bubble, much like the standard bath house in San Francisco.

Doh! Homophobic Intent!

Gianni,Allen, how ex... (Below threshold)
Allen:

Gianni,
Allen, how exactly does one out someone that isn't covert?
Posted by: Gianni at February 22, 2007 10:39 AM

It has already been proven that she was covert, but putting that aside for the moment, how about the CIA front company she worked for? When the White House blew her cover, they also blew the company cover. How many tax dollars did it cost to established that company?

I think you need some cranium/rectal surgery. It doesn't matter if she was out of cover or not, the CIA company was still covert. CAN YOU UNDERSTAND THAT, OR ARE YOU STILL STUPID?

Quit defending the traitors, they screwed the American people of a very important intelligence asset. Please tell us how that is justified, if you can do so honestly. Otherwise, just shut the F up, will you?

Hue, a homophobe, according... (Below threshold)
henny penny:

Hue, a homophobe, according to common usage, is someone who is fearful of or repelled by homosexuality. A homophile, in contrast, is someone who is curious about or curiously attracted by homosexuality. It's called an "antonym". No connection to "homonym". (No homophobic intent, Hugh. Really. Put it out of your mind. Don't listen to the voices).

Since you pointed out so pointedly that Mitchell's comment suggested he was fearful of homosexuality as a means of belittling his comment, it seemed fitting and proper to point out your faint-hearted sensitivity, some might say "attraction", to the word. It's OK. We don't mind at all. Follow your predilections. We couldn't possibly think less of you than we do already.

See how that "ad hominem" stuff works? It's a rather stupid way to make an argument, but that's way too much detail for you to get your hands around (no homophobic intent).

The point is, adults don't win an argument by diverting attention away from the subject with namecalling. You were wrong to use it, just as you were wrong to assume that I was too stupid to understand your witty catcalls directed at Mitchell. You missed what I considered a rather obvious point that most everybody else got, which doesn't reflect particularly well on your own mental quickness.

You forfeited any hope of a civil answer as soon as you did it. Children argue this way, but then again, most children outgrow it by about age 9. Most of them, Hugh. With you, it's a pattern of behavior.

"With you, it's a patter... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"With you, it's a pattern of behavior."

Pot/kettle.

You were cool up until the last sentence!

Okay, I'll drag it on a lit... (Below threshold)

Okay, I'll drag it on a little more. Lee, you wouldn't know cool if it bit you in the arse.




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