[News] CIA Contractor Now Flying Spy Drone Over Haiti

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Thu Jan 21 19:49:28 EST 2010


Published on Thursday, January 21, 2010 by Wired

CIA Contractor Now Flying Spy Drone Over Haiti

by Noah Shachtman

A controversial CIA contractor has found new work 
in Haiti, flying drones on disaster recovery duty.

When last we heard from Evergreen International 
Aviation, the Oregon-based firm was offering to 
post sentries at local voting centers during the 
2008 election, "detaining troublemakers [1]" and 
making sure voters "do not get out of control."

Now, company vice president Sam White tells 
Aviation Week that the firm is flying at least 
one ScanEagle surveillance drone [2] over Haiti. 
"The company has a fleet of 747s and a fleet of 
large and small choppers, and has begun ferrying 
in supplies to Port au Prince," the magazine's 
Paul McLeary [3] notes. "White wouldn't say who 
the company is moving cargo for, saying only that 
‘we're working with different agencies, and we 
have one plane coming in tomorrow full of humanitarian supplies.'"

Over the years, Evergreen has had all sorts of 
interesting clients over its five-plus decades in 
operation. Back in the late '80s, the company 
"acknowledged one agreement under which his 
companies provide occasional jobs and cover to 
foreign nationals the CIA wants taken out of 
other countries or brought into the United 
States." In 2006, Evergreen's parent company flew 
Bill O'Reilly into Kuwait in 2006 [4], according 
toSourceWatch. Last April, the company won a $158 
million contract [5] to supply the Air Force with helicopters in Afghanistan.

Haiti wouldn't be Evergreen's first 
disaster-response mission, however. In September, 
the State of California chartered Evergreen's 747 
supertanker [6], to help put out forest fires there.

UPDATE: Brian Whiteside, executive vice president 
of Evergreen Unmanned Systems, denied that his 
company is flying drones for the earthquake 
recovery operation. "We have no UAVs [unmanned 
aerial vehicles] in Haiti - nothing currently in 
Haiti, and nothing in the region,"he tells Danger 
Room.  Whiteside acknowledged that "we do have 
teams over there that are trying to help." But 
Whiteside isn't sure what, exactly, they've been 
able to accomplish. "We don't have very good 
comms with them." And when I asked him which 
government agency or charity Evergreen was trying 
to support, he ducked the question, and referred me to his spokesperson.

UPDATE 2: McLeary went back and posted the quotes 
he got from Evergreen's Sam White [7]. "We also 
have some UAVs here that we're bringing in to, 
uh, probably work with the press to help out 
downloading live video links and aerial shots of 
the devastation," he said. "We also have 747 
cargo airplanes, and so we're working with 
different agencies there and uh, we have a plane 
landing here tomorrow to bring in a lot of 
humanitarian supplies. So we'll be here for quite some time."

So which Evergreen exec is telling the truth?


Wired.com © 2009 Condé Nast Digital.

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Article printed from www.CommonDreams.org
URL to article: 
<http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/01/21-1>http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/01/21-1



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