Plane Spotting: Fly CIA

BERLIN, Nov 25 - The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is flying terrorist suspects through US air bases in Germany without informing the German government, the Handelsblatt newspaper reported today, citing a US intelligence source.
The CIA aircraft have made stopovers in various European countries, among others Germany,'' the source told the German business daily. Nothing has changed in this regard.’’
The source, described as a ``high-ranking’’ intelligence official, mentioned the Ramstein base, the largest US military air base in Europe, and the Rhein-Main Air Base near Frankfurt.
The newspaper said German authorities had assumed the practice had ceased.
The government declined to comment, saying the European Union had delegated British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to clear up the matter with US authorities.
The information could be relevant to a court case in Germany over the alleged abduction of Muslim cleric Imam Hassan Mustafa Osma Nasr in Rome in February 2003.
CIA agents were alleged to have flown the imam via Ramstein, where he was apparently switched to a different aircraft.
The Berliner Zeitung, a daily in the German capital, reported today that the Rhein-Main Air Base, had been used for a large number of secret CIA flights between 2002 and 2004.
:cool: The paper based its report largely on information from plane spotters, whose hobby involves identifying aircraft.
The newspaper said its research revealed 85 takeoffs and landings by CIA aircraft and that flight records showed many of the flights had originated in, or flown on to, Baghdad, Kabul, Amman and Pakistani destinations.