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Questions Surround Activity At Johnston Hangar

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Smithfield Hangar
RALEIGH, N.C. — Aero Contractors Ltd. in Johnston County brings planes and pilots to its clients. It also provides its own fuel and does not report to the airport. Now, there are reports that it may be involved in the war on terrorism.

The CBS News program, "60 Minutes," indicated secret international CIA flights connected to terrorism suspects and torture, originate in North Carolina. WRAL discovered that Aero Contractors has a classified contract with Fort Bragg and it has worked with the planes in that CBS report.

The assistant general manager for Aero Contractors told WRAL the company has leased the planes that were the focus of the "60 Minutes" report. However, he said the planes only travel to destinations within the United States.

"It's conceivable that if there's a classified contract like that then some people would know about the domestic portion of that contract. Someone would know about the international portion of that contract and neither of them would know what the other is doing with the airplane," said retired Air Force general and WRAL military expert Robert Springer.

Springer said he is speculating, based on his military knowledge. He also said the classified nature of the contract does not allow anyone to talk.

"You always have to sign something that would indicate that you are aware that this is classified information and you will not divulge that information except those with a need to know," Springer said.

Aero Contractors has worked with the federal government since it opened in 1979.



Kelcey Carlson, Reporter
Terry Cantrell, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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