For Al Qaeda, Must-Read NYT?
Al Qaeda will probably find Tuesday's off-lead story by reporters Scott Shane, Stephen Grey and Margot Williams, "C.I.A. Expanding Terror Battle Under Guise of Charter Flights," of particular interest, as the Times blows the cover off a secret fleet of charter plane companies who own and fly planes linked to the C.I.A that take terrorist suspects to and from hot spots like Baghdad and Cairo.
The Times writes: "The airplanes of Aero Contractors Ltd. take off from Johnston County Airport here, then disappear over the scrub pines and fields of tobacco and sweet potatoes. Nothing about the sleepy Southern setting hints of foreign intrigue. 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. When the Central Intelligence Agency wants to grab a suspected member of Al Qaeda overseas and deliver him to interrogators in another country, an Aero Contractors plane often does the job. If agency experts need to fly overseas in a hurry after the capture of a prized prisoner, a plane will depart Johnston County and stop at Dulles Airport outside Washington to pick up the C.I.A. team on the way."
The Times continues to lay out the specifics, pretty much ensuring the U.S. government will have to at least make costly and time-consuming changes in its anti-terror strategy going forward: "While posing as a private charter outfit - 'aircraft rental with pilot' is the listing in Dun and Bradstreet - Aero Contractors is in fact a major domestic hub of the Central Intelligence Agency's secret air service. The company was founded in 1979 by a legendary C.I.A. officer and chief pilot for Air America, the agency's Vietnam-era air company, and it appears to be controlled by the agency, according to former employees. Behind a surprisingly thin cover of rural hideaways, front companies and shell corporations that share officers who appear to exist only on paper, the C.I.A. has rapidly expanded its air operations since 2001 as it has pursued and questioned terrorism suspects around the world.The planes, regularly supplemented by private charters, are operated by real companies controlled by or tied to the agency, including Aero Contractors and two Florida companies, Pegasus Technologies and Tepper Aviation."
There has been some previous coverage of charter companies being employed by the C.I.A., but never in so much excruciating detail (besides the flow chart, the Times has a helpful satellite image of the location of Aero Contractors).
For the rest of the paper's expose, click here:
Female's Indy 500 Finish Highlights Bush's Ignorance of Women
Sports columnist Selena Roberts nabs a front-page Sports section pole position Monday with her piece on Indianapolis 500 racecar driver Danica Patrick, who finished fourth in Sunday's race, the best-ever finish for a female driver. But Roberts spins the feel-good piece into a diatribe against Bush and in support of Title IX, a liberal law Roberts has championed in previous columns.
In "A Heady Apex, But Is a Dead End Just Up Ahead?" Roberts writes: "No Indy driver was under more scrutiny, no rookie racer was the object of more camera lenses. And yet Patrick refused to play the runaway bride as she withstood the pressure to take a remarkable fourth-place finish despite a pit-stop stall, a spin and a few dinks. Does this performance make her the aberration next door, or an average gal who digs a steady diet of carbs, as in carburetors?"
(Actually, the Indy 500 has been carburetor-free since 1964, in favor of more efficient fuel-injection systems.)
More objectionable than Roberts' apparent ignorance of auto racing is the next line: "It is very conceivable that the gap-toothed David Letterman understands what revs a woman's engine more than the gender-gapped George W. Bush." (Letterman cosponsored Patrick's racing team.)
Actually, Bush has closed the "gender gap" substantially, with his gap among women closing from 12 points (54%-42%) against Al Gore in 2000 to 3 points (51%-48%) against John Kerry in 2004.
Roberts writes: "As the impish late-night host, he once put the United States women's World Cup soccer team into America's living room by promoting his favorite 'soccer mommas' on television every night while the ladies went on to validate Title IX during a rapturous summer of 1999. In his own odd way, Letterman has actually helped women to defy the weaker-sex myths and fueled estrogen momentum while the Bush administration would prefer to jam women's progress in reverse by slipping the ladies a Mickey. In March, with no public notice, the United States Education Department handed public schools what was essentially an escape route from Title IX compliance by allowing an interest survey of girls to determine whether institutions were obeying the law in providing equal sports opportunities."
Roberts has pushed Title IX in her columns before. But the federal law mandating parity in funding for school-based male and female sports has nothing to do with auto racing and very little to do with the success of the women's soccer team, which won the world championship back in 1991, before Title IX could have possibly taken affect.
She continues snottily: "Surveying such a nuanced subject as attitudes about athletics is far too complex to use as a standard of Title IX compliance. Besides, knowing what women want is not the expertise of the Bush administration."
For the rest of Roberts on the Indy 500, click here:
Another Cornucopia of "Conservatives" from Kirkpatrick
Reporter David Kirkpatrick goes wild with the conservative label once again in Sunday's "Judicial Nominee Compromise Under G.O.P. Pressure."
Here's a sample of his report: "Social conservatives, meanwhile, have directed special outrage at Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Mike DeWine of Ohio, the two Republicans from relatively conservative states who provided the last votes needed to make the compromise come together. Both had agreed to vote for Dr. Frist's proposal to end judicial blockades by changing Senate rules, but last Monday they joined five other senators from the 55-member Republican majority in the compromise, denying Dr. Frist the 50 votes needed to change the confirmation rules. 'It makes no sense for them to be involved here,' said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a Christian conservative group. For Dr. Frist, a potential presidential candidate who is courting conservative voters, the battle over judicial confirmations has become a test of his credibility with the party's social conservative base. And for many conservatives, that now means breaking the compromise."
In all the story's is slanted 12-2, "conservatives" versus "liberals," including nine occurrences of "conservative" within the first 380 words (common conjunctions "and," "but," and "or" occurred a total of six times in that same space).
For more of Kirkpatrick on conservatives, click here:
France's "Non" Spells "Cumbersome" Future for Europe
Tuesday's lead story from Paris by Elaine Sciolino unpacks the implications of France's "Non" vote on a European constitution.
Sciolino doesn't sugarcoat the defeat of constitution supporters like French President Jacques Chirac in "French No Vote On Constitution Rattles Europe." However, Sciolino does put a rather positive spin on what the constitution would do: "The constitution is intended to provide an ambitious, streamlined system for growth and greater unity in the newly expanded 25-country bloc. If the document is abandoned, member states will have to continue working together under a cumbersome and limiting array of existing treaties and rules adopted when the union was smaller."
That line is repeated in an accompanying chart under the heading "Significance of the Constitution," as if such matters as the fear of continuing loss of sovereignty for individual European nations aren't a factor at all.
For the rest of Sciolino, click here:
The Myth of a "Myth Fostered By the Administration" on 9/11, Hussein Link
Frank Rich's Sunday column begins with an excoriation of ineptitude over the rebuilding of Ground Zero, but soon reverts to Bush-bashing: "The myth fostered by the administration that Saddam Hussein conspired in the 9/11 attacks is finally dead and so, apparently, is the parallel myth that Iraqis were among that day's hijackers."
Never mind that Bush has neversuggested Hussein was involved in 9/11, saying in September 2003: "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th."
For Rich's full article, click here: