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The CIA's Travel Agent

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    The C.I.A. s Travel Agent by Jane Mayer http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/10/30/061030ta_talk_mayer Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.); Jeppesen
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 8, 2007
      The C.I.A.'s Travel Agent
      by Jane Mayer

      Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.); Jeppesen International Trip
      Planning; Travel Agents; Boeing; Extraordinary Rendition Flights;
      Terrorists (Terrorism Suspects); Overby, Bob On the official Web
      site of Boeing, the world's largest aerospace company, there is a
      section devoted to a subsidiary called Jeppesen International Trip
      Planning, based in San Jose, California. The write-up mentions that
      the division "offers everything needed for efficient, hassle-free,
      international flight operations," spanning the globe "from Aachen to
      Zhengzhou." The paragraph concludes, "Jeppesen has done it all."

      Boeing does not mention, either on its Web site or in its annual
      report, that Jeppesen's clients include the C.I.A., and that among
      the international trips that the company plans for the agency are
      secret "extraordinary rendition" flights for terrorism suspects.
      Most of the planes used in rendition flights are owned and operated
      by tiny charter airlines that function as C.I.A. front companies,
      but it is not widely known that the agency has turned to a division
      of Boeing, the publicly traded blue-chip behemoth, to handle many of
      the logistical and navigational details for these trips, including
      flight plans, clearance to fly over other countries, hotel
      reservations, and ground-crew arrangements.

      The Bush Administration has defended the clandestine rendition
      program, which began during the Clinton years, as an effective
      method of transporting terrorists to countries where they can be
      questioned or held. Human-rights activists and others have said the
      program's primary intent is to send suspects to detention centers
      where they can be interrogated harshly, and have criticized it as an
      illegal means of "outsourcing torture."

      A former Jeppesen employee, who asked not to be identified, said
      recently that he had been startled to learn, during an internal
      corporate meeting, about the company's involvement with the
      rendition flights. At the meeting, he recalled, Bob Overby, the
      managing director of Jeppesen International Trip Planning, said, "We
      do all of the extraordinary rendition flights—you know, the torture
      flights. Let's face it, some of these flights end up that way." The
      former employee said that another executive told him, "We do the
      spook flights." He was told that two of the company's trip planners
      were specially designated to handle renditions. He was deeply
      troubled by the rendition program, he said, and eventually quit his
      job. He recalled Overby saying, "It certainly pays well. They"—the
      C.I.A.—"spare no expense. They have absolutely no worry about costs.
      What they have to get done, they get done."

      Overby, who was travelling last week, did not return several phone
      calls. Mike Pound, the head of corporate communications for
      Jeppesen, said that he would have no comment, and he added, "Bob
      Overby will have no comment as well." Tim Neale, the director of
      media relations for Boeing's corporate office in Chicago, said, "The
      flight-planning services we provide our customers are confidential,
      and we do not comment publicly on any work done for any customer
      without their consent." The C.I.A. had no comment.

      The British journalist Stephen Grey, in a new book, "Ghost Plane,"
      refers to documents obtained by Spanish law-enforcement officials,
      along with flight logs, which indicate that international flight
      planners provided essential logistical support for many of the
      C.I.A.'s renditions, including that of Khaled el-Masri, a German car
      salesman who was apparently mistaken for an Al Qaeda suspect with a
      similar name, in January of 2004. (Although documents show that
      Jeppesen provided this support, Grey's book does not mention the
      company.) Masri, who is a Muslim, was arrested at the border while
      crossing from Serbia into Macedonia by bus. He has alleged in court
      papers that Macedonian authorities turned him over to a C.I.A.
      rendition team. Then, he said, masked figures stripped him naked,
      shackled him, and led him onto a Boeing 737 business jet. Flight
      plans prepared by Jeppesen show that from Skopje, Macedonia, the 737
      flew to Baghdad, where it had military clearance to land, and then
      on to Kabul. On board, Masri has said, he was chained to the floor
      and injected with sedatives. After landing, he was put in the trunk
      of a car and driven to a building where he was placed in a dank
      cell. He spent the next four months there, under interrogation.
      Masri was released in May, 2004, on the orders of Condoleezza Rice,
      then the national-security adviser, after she learned that he had
      mistakenly been identified as a terrorism suspect.

      Ben Wizner, an A.C.L.U. attorney who is representing Masri in his
      lawsuit against the former C.I.A. director George Tenet and private
      aviation companies, says that if Boeing can be proved to have played
      a role in Masri's rendition the A.C.L.U. may amend the lawsuit to
      name the company as a defendant.

      The American flight crew fared better than their passenger.
      Documents show that after the 737 delivered Masri to the Afghan
      prison it flew to the resort island of Majorca, where, for two
      nights, crew members stayed at a luxury hotel, at taxpayers'



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