Monday, March 13, 2006


Plane spotting

The ease with which the Chicago Tribune turned up the names of some 2600 CIA employees and "the locations of some two dozen secret CIA facilities around the United States" surprises me a great deal less than it has apparently surprised the media. Most of the secrets of the U.S. government, the CIA included, are secrets only in the sense that they remain unknown to ordinary citizens. Foreign governments seem to have little trouble in staying abreast.

Of course when such truths are exposed it might raise the question of the reason for the secrecy in the first place—is it for reasons of national security or for reasons of domestic politics. That is the truly unexposed exposé.

But the Tribune's use of the internet to do the research certainly points to the increasing ease with which the government's "secrets" may be ferreted out. So now we read—

Several "front companies" set up to provide cover for CIA operatives and its small fleet of aircraft recently began disappearing from the Internet, following the Tribune's disclosures that some of the planes were used to transport suspected terrorists to countries where they claimed to have been tortured.

So if you spot a commercial aircraft with no presence on the Web, the company may be either too primitive to fly or you might wonder if it's a CIA front.

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