Artist, author and experimental geographer Trevor Paglen has created the ingenious project Terminal Air to spy on the spies. Developed in collaboration with the Institute for Applied Autonomy, the web-based work facilitates public visualization of flights known or suspected to be involved in the CIA's extraordinary rendition program.
Eluding national and international law, this governmental scheme involves kidnapping and relocating suspected terrorists to undocumented “dark prisons” where they can be held, interrogated, and tortured indefinitely. Under the guise of national security, US agents use these covert tactics to sidestep habeas corpus and basic human rights.
Terminal Air's flight-tracking software and database monitor specific CIA aircraft flights from 2001 to the present. Their daily routes are displayed in near real-time. Paglen and IAA have designed the flight viewer so that one can easily trace these extraordinary rendition routes around the globe.
To expedite this enterprise, the CIA regularly uses leased equipment and private contractors that often go through civilian airports; thus, their movements are subject to public record. If you're looking for details, down to the history of each plane's use for abductions, the project's data browser is the library for you.
Though the pages take a little time to load, exploring them is worth the wait. Visit IAA's webpage to discover their other tactical media projects, or check out Paglen's site to view his radical artwork and writings.