CSC flights: Romania 2004-5
CSC’s Romania missions unveiled
In November 2005, after the Washington Post first discussed the existence of secret prisons in Europe, Human Rights Watch revealed that “CIA airplanes traveling from Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004 made direct flights to remote airfields in Poland and Romania”. Investigations by the Council of Europe and European Parliament in 2006 and 2007 provided further information about renditions to and from these countries.
In 2008, however, an inquiry conducted by a Romanian Parliamentary Commission led by MEP Norica Nicolai concluded that it was impossible to find any evidence of Romanian involvement in the CIA black site programme.
In December 2011, Associated Press and ARD Panorama revealed that former US intelligence officials had identified the location of a CIA prison in central Bucharest, “hiding in plain sight”. AP wrote: “The Romanian prison was part of a network of so-called black sites that the CIA operated and controlled overseas in Thailand, Lithuania and Poland. All the prisons were closed by May 2006.”
Reprieve’s Renditions Inc. investigation has now uncovered multiple failures by the Romanian Parliamentary Inquiry. Despite reviewing 4000 documents over two years, the inquiry mysteriously failed to notice key suspicious flights into and out of Romania organised by renditions contractor Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC).
The following are among the flights ignored by the Romanian inquiry:
- Gulfstream IV with tailnumber N288KA flew from Kabul to Bucharest via Amman on 31 July 2004. It stayed less than 90 minutes in Bucharest before returning to Washington DC via Prague and Gander. CSC budgeted $248,000 for this trip, including $60,000 of “mission specific costs”.
- Gulfstream IV with tailnumber N308AB flew from Romania to Morocco and then on to Kabul and Algeria between 23 Aug. 2004 and 28 Aug. 2004. CSC budgeted $437,000 for this trip, including over $143,000 of “mission specific costs”.
- Gulfstream IV with tailnumber N789DK flew from Romania to Kabul via Amman on 20 Oct. 2004. CSC budgeted a total of $337,000 for this trip.
- Boeing 737 with tailnumber N787WH flew from Morocco to Romania and onwards to Lithuania on 18 Feb. 2005. Leaving Romania, the plane filed a false flight plan giving its destination as Gothenburg, Sweden, but the Lithuanian parliamentary inquiry confirmed its arrival in Lithuania from Romania. CSC paid almost $400,000 for the round trip.
- Gulfstream IV with tailnumber N308AB flew from Romania to Tirana, Albania, arriving at 22:38 on 5 Oct. 2005, where its pilot was instructed to “drop all PAX [passengers]”. N787WH, also contracted by CSC, was already waiting for them and left Tirana soon after, heading to Lithuania, although it had filed a flight plan to Tallinn in nearby Estonia.
- Gulfstream IV with tailnumber N1HC flew from Romania to Amman, arriving just after midnight on 6 Nov. 2005. Another Gulfstream, N248AB, was waiting for it and proceeded from Amman to Kabul approximately 30 minutes later.