Why publish the names of the contractors? Why publish a photograph of one of the planes complete with aviation ID markings? Why publish the home airport for the ‘flagship’ 737-based Boeing Business Jet(s)? Why attack the CIA’s use of these aircraft and the contractors that operate them?
When you read the NYT article full through, it becomes painfully obvious ‘why’:
Global War on Terror Bad, CIA Bad, America Bad.
This expose seems to have grown out of questions surrounding CIA "torture flights" - CBS has earlier reporting, and the Chicago Tribune also started down this road (the Chicago Tribune story is archived at Michael Moore's website - know your audience.)
Now, we are reasoning backwards, but... several of the companies cited by the Times already generate Google hits as probable CIA fronts (several, but not all!). For example, Premier Executive Transport Services Inc. was outed by the WaPo last December (and guess what - a Freeper led the way!).
Tepper Aviation, Inc. appears as an alleged CIA plane.
Well - one hopes the damage done by the Times in compiling all of this research into one executive summary does not represent a huge setback in our war on terror.
And that said, let's briefly revisit their handwringing over the leak of Valerie Plame's identity. Times editors and columnists wanted to string up Robert Novak and various Administration officials for callously endangering lives and jeopardizing our national security.
That was then.
MORE: Yes, I find it very suspicious that this story comes out immediately after the arrest of Oliver Stone. A warning shot?
Somewhat more seriously, how does this story fit the template that the CIA wants to embarrass Bush, and relies on a friendly press to do so? Not so well, although a CIA with factions can be invoked to explain anything. Almost anything.
Of course, maybe the Times simply thinks this story advances the national interest, or the public's "right to know". Or maybe later this week, Special Counsel Fitzgerald will drop the subpoenas in the Plame case, the Times having made its point that it can report the heck out of stuff when it needs to.