The CIA’s 1000 Undeclared Flights in Europe

One thing I’ve noticed while reading the coverage of the Mary McCarthy firing—who may or may not have been fired for leaking evidence that the CIA was running secret and illegal detention centers in Europe—is that most of the coverage has concentrated mostly on the leak itself, rather than the main issue at hand: the fact that the CIA is running a clandestine torture operation that many officers within the agency want no part of. At any rate, this AP story brings things back into focus:

European lawmakers said Wednesday they had discovered a “widespread regular practice” of human rights violations by the CIA in Europe….

They said they had also found that the CIA has conducted more than 1,000 undeclared flights over European territory since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks — some carrying suspected terrorists to countries where they could face torture….

As of late December, some 100 to 150 people have been seized in “renditions” involving taking terror suspects off the street of one country and flying them to their home country or another where they are wanted for a crime or questioning. Government officials have said the action is reserved for those considered by the CIA to be the most serious terror suspects. Mistakes, however, have been made, and are being investigated by the CIA’s inspector general.

Mistakes have been made? That’s a rather understated way of putting it.