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The official, a high-ranking veteran with inside knowledge of operations at the base, said the planes then left for North Africa with their cargo and two CIA handlers aboard.
His descriptions, told on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press, add to suspicions surrounding Romania's involvement in "extraordinary rendition" — the beyond-the-law transfer of U.S. terrorism suspects from country to country by the CIA. Human rights advocates say renditions were the agency's way to outsource torture of prisoners to countries where it is permitted practice.