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CIA Aircraft Spotted With British Special Forces Helicopters

03.11.2009

The Guardian reports on a sighting at Birmingham airport of a suspected CIA-operated aircraft and a pair of Dauphin 2 helicopters operated by 8 Flight Army Air Corps.

The sighting, on October 2nd, is controversial as the Gulf Stream jet is believed to be the same aircraft previously involved in at least one so-called 'extraordinary rendition' flight, during which terrorist suspects were covertly transported. There is, however, no indication that the CIA Gulf Stream was involved on such as mission this time.

(photo of the CIA-operated Gulf Stream, registration #N478GS)

The CIA's Special Activities Division (SAD) is understood to own a fleet made up of various types of aircraft, from airliners to helicopters. These aircraft are registered to civilian front companies but flown by pilots from SAD's Air Branch and are used to covertly transport CIA SAD operatives, US special operations forces and other personnel around the globe. Some CIA aircraft are also used for airborne surveillance and intelligence gathering.

Further reading:
'Torture flight' plane spotted in Birmingham
(The Guardian report)

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