Lorie Byrd

There has been an incredible amount of media attention paid to the “outing” of Valerie Plame. In spite of extensive interviews granted by her camera-loving husband, Joe Wilson, asserting the current administration intentionally outed a covert CIA agent, there have yet to be any charges filed against anyone for outing Plame. This weekend, readers of the L.A. Times (in a special report by Bob Drogin and John Goetz) were able to get a look at a real outing in my neck of the woods -- eastern North Carolina.

Unlike Valerie Plame, who was removed from covert duty years earlier, the subjects of the L.A. Times story, three North Carolina pilots, were recently involved in extremely sensitive covert actions flying CIA rendition flights. The three pilots have, along with ten others, been indicted in a German court, for their involvement in the “extraordinary rendition” of Khaled Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent.

“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 pilots’ real names were not disclosed in the L.A. Times, but some pretty specific information was. The report included information that all three pilots live “within a 30-minute drive of the guarded Aero hangar and offices at the rural Johnston County airport.” Also reported was the type of car driven by two of the men and some details about what else might be found in their driveways, as well as some information about their homes.

"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 copilot, who used the alias Fain, is a bearded man of 35 who lives with his father and two dogs in a separate subdivision…

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."


Lorie Byrd

Lorie Byrd is a Townhall.com columnist and blogs at Wizbang and at LorieByrd.com.

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