Lorie Byrd

These men were using aliases for a reason. The L.A. Times did not provide names or Google Maps to their homes, but they provided enough information to give anyone wanting to find them a pretty good start. The L.A.Times reporters are not the only ones to have visited the pilots’ homes.

“An associate of the Institute for Southern Studies has also visited the homes of the pilots. Although the suspects quickly closed their doors and declined to comment when confronted about the rendition flights, we can corroborate the Times' story that these men match photographs of pilots based in Johnston County, NC, where the CIA had been conducting renditions through Aero Contractors.”

I have yet to see a report indicating that any of the pilots or their family members granted interviews. According to the L.A. Times report, “None of the pilots responded to repeated requests for comment left with family members and on their home telephones.” One comment included was from the wife of one pilot who was called at her office. She said her husband had done no wrong and that “he’s just a pilot.”

That is in sharp contrast to the case of Valerie Plame, whose husband’s reaction to her name being mentioned in a Bob Novak column was to book dozens of interviews and grant a Vanity Fair magazine spread featuring pictures of both Plame and him.

Clarice Feldman, who has been covering the perjury trial of Scooter Libby, sums up the Plame "outing" from her observations of the trial and the case in general. “In the Libby case there is not a scintilla of proof that Plame was an undercover CIA agent, that any harm to national security occurred by the disclosure of her identity, and the person responsible on the record for having disclosed it--Dick Armitage--was never charged with anything….”

The “outing” of Valerie Plame received an incredible amount of media attention with the thrust of most reports being that a great wrong had been committed and serious damage done to national security. There has already been some publicity surrounding Aero Contractors’ role in the CIA missions, but previously none providing information indicating the specific location of the individuals involved.

Fourteen demonstrators were arrested for protesting at the Aero offices last fall, prior to this recent L.A. Times story. By all accounts, that protest was peaceful, but now with the information provided in the Times’ story, it would not be difficult for anyone to locate the homes of the pilots and their families.

Don’t expect the same type treatment the Plame case received to be applied to this story. The L.A.Times story ends with this quote about one of the rendition missions, “On the flight back to Washington, after the snow had cleared, the rendition team celebrated by ordering 17 shrimp cocktails and three bottles of fine Spanish wine, according to catering invoices obtained by the prosecutors. “ I don’t remember seeing much attention paid to Joe and Valerie Wilson’s cocktails, but I guess that is because their story was about how they were victims of an outing.

Lorie Byrd

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

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