Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc.
the CIA's covert airline
Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc. describes itself this way:
- "For more than 70 years Jeppesen has made it possible for pilots and their passengers to safely and efficiently reach their destinations. Today this pioneering spirit continues as Jeppesen delivers information and technology-based information management tool sets essential to navigation and efficient operations management to air, sea and rail operators around the globe. Jeppesen is a subsidiary of Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, a unit of Boeing Commercial Airplanes."
- 1 Involvement in rendition flights
- 2 Government and Military Aviation team
- 3 Contact details
- 4 SourceWatch resources
- 5 References
- 6 Other external links
Involvement in rendition flights
In late May 2007, Jeppesen was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for its alleged connivance in the U.S. government's extraordinary rendition program. According to the group: "The lawsuit charges that Jeppesen knowingly provided direct flight services to the CIA that enabled the clandestine transportation of Binyam Mohamed, Abou Elkassim Britel and Ahmed Agiza to secret overseas locations where they were subjected to torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment."
Flight planning for the abduction of El-Masri
- "El-Masri says he was seized while on vacation in Macedonia and flown to a secret prison in Afghanistan, where he was imprisoned, interrogated and tortured for five months before being released without charges. Gatti says El-Masri was rendered in the same Jeppesen-serviced plane as ACLU plaintiff Binyam Mohamed."
First reports of Jeppesen's involvement
The company's alleged involvement in the rendition program was first exposed by Spanish investigators, according to Claudio Gatti:
- "The first documentary evidence bearing Jeppesen's name was retrieved in June 2005 by the Spanish Guardia Civil, when it investigated reports in a newspaper, Diario de Mallorca, of CIA planes flying into local airports. The Spanish authorities found that four planes - two Boeings and two Gulfstreams - had repeatedly landed and refueled in Mallorca and that they were serviced by two local companies on behalf of Jeppesen and Air Routing International."
- "Similar documents were uncovered in Portugal by a newspaper, Diario de Noticias, which found the name of Jeppesen in communications related to rendition planes that used the airports in Porto and Santa Maria de Azores. Jeppesen UK was also named in British newspapers as the company that arranged for ground support services to a rendition plane that landed at Glasgow Prestwick Airport in June 2004."
In November 2005, El Pais reported the outcome of the Guardia Civil's investigation. The police force had
- "...concluded in its report that no illegal activity was carried out by persons arriving on the alleged CIA aircraft during the stopover in Palma de Majorca and that, as with most private aircraft, the activities of the occupants are unknown. The Guardia Civil also writes in its report that when aircraft service workers based at Son Sant Joan Airport who went aboard the aircraft noticed no structural modifications inside the planes or anything unusual."
An article in The New Yorker in October 2006 made fresh, damaging allegations:
- "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.'"
How much did they know?
The frank nature of Overby's alleged comments contrasts sharply with denials from the company following the launch of the ACLU's lawsuit. According to Jeppesen spokesman Mike Pound,
- "We don't know the purpose of the trip for which we do a flight plan... We don't need to know specific details. It's the customer's business, and we do the business that we are contracted for... It's not our practice to ever inquire about the purpose of a trip."
Pound's claim that they "don't need to know specific details" of a trip also appears to contradict comments made by Jeppesen's John Kinsman in the company's Government & Military Flyer magazine, in early 2007:
- "Every member of the GMA team understands that our ability to meet your needs and ultimately increase your mission effectiveness is directly related to the depth of our understanding of the challenges you face on a day to day basis and the solutions you require from Jeppesen to accomplish your missions. The level of understanding of your challenges that I am describing can only be accomplished by engaging with you on a frequent and sustained basis."
Rendition planes managed by Jeppesen
This is an incomplete list. According to the ACLU, "...since December 2001, Jeppesen has provided flight and logistical support to at least 15 aircraft that have made a total of 70 rendition flights."
Other companies allegedly involved in planning rendition flights
According to a report in the Metro Silicon Valley newspaper, Claudio Gatti has alleged that three other companies were involved in planning CIA rendition flights:
- "...Air Routing International, Baseops Flight Planning and Universal Weather & Aviation, Inc. Each CIA plane was assigned to one of the four companies who consistently serviced its flights."
Government and Military Aviation team
Jeppesen's website boasts of its expertise in planning government and military flights:
- "Government and Military Aviation team members have extensive federal government and active duty military flight experience. This expertise, combined with Jeppesen's 70 year history of industry leadership and innovation, allows us to design products, tailor services and provide support to help you make every mission possible today and enhance your capabilities for tomorrow."
The company publishes a newsletter targetted specifically at the sector, called Government & Military Flyer. Copies are available online in PDF format.
- Air Routing International
- American Civil Liberties Union
- Baseops Flight Planning
- Extraordinary rendition
- Universal Weather & Aviation, Inc.
- Jeppesen homepage. Undated, accessed June 2007.
- "ACLU Sues Boeing Subsidiary for Participation in CIA Kidnapping and Torture Flights", press release, American Civil Liberties Union, May 30, 2007.
- Diane Solomon, "Breaking Jeppesen. Behind the story: How investigative journalists used flight records to uncover the company's link to the CIA", Metro Silicon Valley, June 13-19, 2007.
- Claudio Gatti, "Boeing unit to face suit in CIA seizures", International Herald Tribune, May 29, 2007.
- Andreu Manresa, "La investigación halla en los vuelos de la CIA decenas de ocupantes con estatus diplomático", El Pais, November 15, 2005. Spanish language, subscription req'd. Subscription-free mirror at foro.losgenoveses.net and machine translation by Google. Human translation at dailykos.
- Jane Mayer, "Outsourcing: The C.I.A.’s Travel Agent", The New Yorker, October 30, 2006.
- Pat Milton, "ACLU files suit against Boeing subsidiary, saying it enabled secret overseas torture", Associated Press (via signonsandiego.com), May 31, 2007.
- John Kinsman, "From the Desk of John Kinsman" (PDF), Government & Military Flyer (Jeppesen newsletter), page 3, volume 5, issue 1, 2007.
- Jeppesen Government and Military Aviation, Jeppesen website. Undated, accessed June 2007.
- Jeppesen Government and Military Aviation: GMA Flyer, Jeppesen website. Undated, accessed June 23, 2007.
- About Us : Englewood (Denver), Colorado, Jeppesen website. Undated, accessed June 2007.
- Nat Hentoff, "The CIA's No-Questions-Asked Travel Agent", Village Voice, June 19th, 2007.
- Nat Hentoff, "Boeing's Frequent (Kidnapping) Flyers", Village Voice, June 13th, 2007.