A CIA Outing In Barbecue Land

Did you know that Smithfield, North Carolina is renowned for its barbecue? No the verb, but the noun. Well, stopping by Michelle Malkin's spot, it found out it was now renouned for something else, which led to Patterico's Pontifications, who highlights an LA Times article, highlighted by the Opinion Journal. With me so far?

The Los Angeles Times boasts that it has identified three CIA pilots who are facing kidnapping charges in Germany over a 2003 counterterrorism operation there:

The names they used were all aliases, but The Times confirmed their real identities from government databases and visited their homes this month after a German court in January ordered the arrest of the three “ghost pilots” and 10 other alleged members of the CIA’s special renditions unit on charges of kidnapping and causing serious bodily harm to Khaled Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent, three years ago.

None of the pilots responded to repeated requests for comment left with family members and on their home telephones. The Times is not publishing their real names because they have been charged only under their aliases.

But it does offer plenty of details about them:

In real life, the chief pilot is 52, drives a Toyota Previa minivan and keeps a collection of model trains in a glass display case near a large bubbling aquarium in his living room. Federal aviation records show he is rated to fly seven kinds of aircraft as long as he wears his glasses. . . .

His copilot, who used the alias Fain, is a bearded man of 35 who lives with his father and two dogs in a separate subdivision. . . .

The third pilot, who used the alias Bird, is 46, drives a Ford Explorer and has a 17-foot aluminum fishing boat. Certified as a flight instructor, he keeps plastic models of his favorite planes mounted by the fireplace in his living room in a house that backs onto a private golf course here [in a town of 13,000 the Times identifies in its dateline].

Remember all the outrage when Robert Novak “outed” Valerie Plame, who apparently worked a desk job at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.? Here the L.A. Times is publishing extensive personal details on three men who have actually done dangerous work defending the country. Where’s the outrage?

Michelle says to cue the crickets. Patterico says lovely. Lorie Byrd, over at Wizbang, says she is familiar with the area, and it would be easy to track the men down. I live about 30 minutes away from Smithfield, and, yup, it would be pretty easy.

The Democratic Underground is outraged. Oh, wait, no, they're not, at least within the first three forum pages. However, they do wonder about the damage done in the Valerie Flameout affair.

Huff Post? Nyet, comrade, but the plane was going that way anyhow. Kos? Nope. No one really seems to care within the nutroots about this.

Meanwhile, I kinda read parts of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, and nowhere does it actually differentiate between contract employees and regular employees of the CIA. Matter of fact, if you scroll down to section 606,

(4) The term "covert agent" means—

(A) a present or retired officer or employee of an intelligence agency or a present or retired member of the Armed Forces assigned to duty with an intelligence agency—

(i) whose identity as such an officer, employee, or member is classified information, and

(ii) who is serving outside the United States or has within the last five years served outside the United States; or

"Present officer" would be what should apply. And has served outside of the US within the past 5 years. Everything that Valerie Flameout wasn't and didn't. Of course, that is just an oversight of the act, and their may be other provisions that apply. But, that should do it.

Will we be having a Merry Fitzmas with the LA Times as the guest of honor?

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