Eric Robert Hume (alias Eric Matthew Fain)

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A reporter from German TV tries to talk to Eric Hume at his home in Johnston County, North Carolina

Eric Robert Hume (alias Eric Matthew Fain) is an alleged CIA pilot. 'Eric Fain' is wanted in Germany on charges of kidnapping and causing serious bodily harm to Khalid El-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent.[1]

The offences are alleged to have been committed as part of the CIA's extraordinary rendition program. According to German magazine Der Spiegel, "El-Masri says he was wrongly abducted on New Year's Eve 2003 in Macedonia and detained in various secret overseas prisons often referred to as 'black sites.' His five month ordeal finally ended when he was dumped on an abandoned road in Albania."[2]

Establishing Fain's real identity

Phoning home

Fain appears to have first been identified publicly as Hume by the German association of investigative reporters, netzwerk recherche, in the proceedings of its 2007 annual conference. According to a report in the proceedings, he was identified by investigator John Goetz because of a phone call he made home when the El-Masri rendition team were forced to stay an unscheduled extra night in a luxury hotel in Majorca (machine translation by AltaVista):

"Eric Hume, which was probably called with the CIA Eric Fain, discovered Goetz with a search in the American directory. Because Fain from the hotel on Mallor had called approx. a number in the USA. Two days had stuck there the CIA people mark on the island in the Mediterranean. Because of a snowstorm. Hume, a fluke."[3]

An LA Times story in February 2007 gave some further details about Fain's ill-advised phone call:

"Fairing's copilot, who registered as Eric Matthew Fain, reached for the phone in his room and called a woman back home with whom he owns a 22-foot speedboat and who also flies missions for the CIA."[1]


The LA Times story states that Fain

" a bearded man of 35 who lives with his father and two dogs in a separate subdivision."[1]

Public records available for Eric R. Hume give his date of birth as September 1971, which agrees with the above age.[4]

FAA records

A search of FAA records shows that both Eric Robert Hume and Eric Matthew Fain have identical medical results (medical class second, must wear corrective lenses), identical ratings and identical type ratings. Furthermore, both identities are subject to an identical restriction on operating the BE-300 type. Both Hume and Fain are also qualified as ground instructors, again with identical medical results and ratings. The only point of discrepancy is that Hume has a flight instructor's licence, whereas Fain does not.[5][6]

Door stepped by Panorama

Fall 2006: First attempt to talk to Hume

Reporter John Goetz from German television's Panorama program visited Hume's home in fall 2006. Here's what happened, according to a German-language transcript published on the program's website:[7]

Google translation with minor, obvious corrections German
Therefore we ourselves inquire with Eric.

PANORAMA: "Good mornings! We would like to ask you for the kidnapping of Khaled Al-Masri. I am John Goetz of the German television."

O-clay/tone Eric: "NO, it's ok."

Some minutes later an older gentleman comes from the building of the suspect - obvious the father. It wants to note our license number.

PANORAMA: "We would talk gladly with you about the kidnapping about Khaled Al-Masri in Macedonia. Do you know, about what I talk? What do you say to the Kidnapping of Khaled Al-Masri in Macedonia?"

O-clay/tone man: "Disappearing it my property!"

PANORAMA: "We go already."

Daher fragen wir selbst bei Eric nach.

PANORAMA: „Guten Morgen! Wir möchten Sie nach der Entführung von Khaled Al-Masri fragen. Ich bin John Goetz vom deutschen Fernsehen.“

O-Ton Eric: “No, it's ok.”

Einige Minuten später kommt ein älterer Herr aus dem Gebäude des Tatverdächtigen – offenbar der Vater. Er will sich unser Autokennzeichen aufschreiben.

PANORAMA: „Wir würden gern mit Ihnen über die Entführung von Khaled Al-Masri in Mazedonien reden. Wissen Sie, wovon ich rede? Was sagen Sie zum Kidnapping von Khaled Al-Masri in Mazedonien?“

O-Ton Mann: “Verschwinden Sie von meinem Grundstück!“

PANORAMA: „Ja, ja, wir gehen schon.“

Spring 2007: Warrant? What warrant?

Panorama tried knocking on Hume's door again in spring 2007. This time, a sheriff's deputy quickly showed up and warned the reporters off. The incident is available to view on the NDR television website.[8] If you can't understand German, this machine-translated transcript is clear enough to allow you to follow the report.[9] Although the report does not identify Hume by name, it is clearly his house as the video contains footage of his mailbox with his street number on it. It is the same as Hume's street number in his FAA records.[5] The video features the sheriff's deputy saying:

"You can't stay here... You've parked the vehicle in front of their house... We haven't received any type of warrant in our county."

It also shows that Hume has placed prominent "No trespassing" signs around his home.

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Bob Drogin and John Goetz, "'Ghost pilots' of the CIA's rendition team: The Times traces the identities of three facing kidnapping charges in Germany related to a 2003 operation", Los Angeles Times, February 18, 2007. Subscription req'd. Subscription-free copy here.
  2. "Suspected CIA Kidnappers Identified", Der Spiegel, September 21, 2006.
  3. Christina Stefanescu, "Wie enttarnt man einen CIA-Kidnapper? (How does one unmask a CIA kidnapper?)" (PDF), Zusammenfassungen zur nr-Jahreskonferenz 2007 (Summaries to the NR yearly conference 2007), page 22,, 2007.
  4. ZabaSearch for Eric R. Hume. Undated, acccessed July 20, 2007.
  5. 5.0 5.1 FAA certificate 1 (pilot) (screengrab), certificate 2 (flight instructor) (screengrab), and certificate 3 (ground instructor) (screengrab) for Eric Robert Hume. Registration req'd. Undated, accessed July 20, 2007.
  6. FAA certificate 1 (pilot) (screengrab) and certificate 2 (ground instructor) (screengrab) for Eric Matthew Fain. Registration req'd. Undated, accessed July 20, 2007.
  7. John Goetz and Volker Steinhoff, "Al Masri-Entführung - auf der Spur der CIA-Kidnapper", Panorama (German TV), September 21, 2006. PDF transcript (German) and machine translation by Google of Google's HTML version of that PDF.
  8. "Große Show, wenig Wirkung - der hilflose Haftbefehl gegen CIA-Agenten" ("Large show, little effect - the helpless warrant of arrest against CIA agents"), NDR Television website, April 5, 2007. Video of the report (RealPlayer or Windows Media).
  9. "Transcript of "Große Show, wenig Wirkung - der hilflose Haftbefehl gegen CIA-Agenten", NDR Television, April 5, 2007. Machine translation by Google.

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