Friday, April 9, 2010

Secret air flights

A federal program designed to protect sensitive business deals and executives' safety is being used by politicians, business executives, university athletic recruiters and others to avoid publicity by hiding their flights on private aircraft from the public, a ProPublica review has found.

The aircraft owners don't have to demonstrate any need need to keep flights secret. They simply request secrecy from the National Business Aviation Association, which lobbied for the program and runs it for the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA removes flights from its database before giving the information to flight-tracking websites.

This week, after a 15-month effort, ProPublica obtained the current list of 1,100 aircraft whose flights had been removed from the database. The FAA released the list after a federal judge rejected the NBAA's argument that it should remain confidential for security and competitive reasons.

Generally, if you're keeping something secret, it's because it's either wrong or shameful. Why is the government enabling secrecy in business, politics and education?

No comments: