Scott Shane, Stephen Grey and Margot Williams have an article in the New York Times
which reveals company names, bases, plane types, tail numbers, missions flown, even a picture of a plane which includes its registration numbers.
What do the people at the Times think they are accomplishing with this? I fail to see the purpose of revealing such detailed information. Tell the Islamists which rural airports have CIA planes, hangers, and offices? I wish the Times had explained the purpose of its article: most articles are pretty self explanatory, but I don't think this one was.
Was the information already common knowledge to our enemies? Well, this is what the NY Times did to get it:
An analysis of thousands of flight records, aircraft registrations and corporate documents, as well as interviews with former C.I.A. officers and pilots, show that the agency owns at least 26 planes, 10 of them purchased since 2001. The agency has concealed its ownership behind a web of seven shell corporations that appear to have no employees and no function apart from owning the aircraft.
OK, by the New York Times' own admission, it took considerable work to dig up info which the CIA went to some trouble to conceal. Perhaps this really was common knowledge, but since the NYT didn't point out why this should be public info, I hope the NYT will at least understand my perplexity about their purpose.
Nothing gives away the fact that Aero's pilots are the discreet bus drivers of the battle against terrorism, routinely sent on secret missions to Baghdad, Cairo, Tashkent and Kabul.
Nothing except an article in the New York Times which is complete with a nifty graphic
titled "Secret Fleet- A network of private companies owns and flies planes linked to the C.I.A." Formerly secret fleet, with descriptions for finding their hangers and offices ("At the other end are the hangars and offices of Aero Contractors, down a tree-lined driveway named for Charlie Day"). Another graphic includes the possibly useless info: "Tail numbers include N379P, N8068V and N44982" and "Tail numbers include N8183J." I am sure the journalists who worked at the NY Times during the Second World War would be proud of you.
Thanks toBill Roggio/Winds of Change
for the tip via Instapundit.
UPDATE: Here's a curious quote from an October 2, 2003, NY Times editorial
But that does not mean there can never be a circumstance in which leaks are wrong — the disclosure of troop movements in wartime is a clear example.
So, leaking troop movements in wartime is a bad thing, but telling the enemy where they are is OK, so long as you are the New York Times? How is giving directions to a secret CIA base at a rural airport similar to revealing troop movents?
Thanks to FreeSpeech
for the tip.