If often strikes me how NPR is so unbelievably late to covering such stories, and only follows once the path has been cleared and well trod. According to the Sourcewatch entry on Jeppesen, the foreign press (Spain and Portugal) first implicated the company in CIA torture flights back in the summer of 2005. But as early as October 2006 The New Yorker was reporting on the Jeppesen involvement in torture flights. However, if you search NPR, you'll only find a mention of Jeppesen on Morning Edition back in May 2007 when the ACLU filed the suit, and then on this past Friday's show. You get a sense that NPR waits until the evidence is practically handed to it before daring to do investigative reporting. Siegel opens up the piece by stating "there is now a sworn court declaration lending weight to allegation that the CIA flew terror suspects to secret locations for interrogation." Allegation? Guess what Siegel? There was a September 2006 report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (go to page 84 in PDF) confirming the CIA "rendition" of suspect Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi to Egypt where he was tortured into falsely claiming an al-Qaeda connection to Iraq (his confession was the "hard evidence" Powell presented at the UN before the US invasion of Iraq).
Another problem with this report is how NPR often minimizes the atrocities committed by the US or its allies. In describing a detainee's description of his time in the hell of US detention prisons in Afghanistan, Shapiro tells us "there's some familiar details here, sleep deprivation, loud music. He says he tried to commit suicide three times, once by trying to hang himself, once with pills and once through slashing his wrists." Sleep deprivation, loud music...talk about down playing the real horrors of the US secret prisons. Shapiro also closes the description on an upbeat tone noting, "toward the end when his treatment improved...even describes a movie library that include European soccer films and Jackie Chan movies."
I think the most revolting aspect of the piece was the cavalier chuckling of Robert Siegel during the interview with Shapiro. You'd never know that the information they are discussing involves the most barbarous treatment of human beings imaginable and the official participation of our government in it. Shapiro is describing the sworn testimony of an employee of Jeppesen and there is this sickening interaction:
"he later described an instructor of his saying we do spook flights, and this is a quote: 'I specifically asked him whether he had said spoof flights [Siegel chuckles lightly] or spook flights [Siegel chuckles heartily] and he replied spook flights.'"(graphic is from Jeppesen's website)