Lyle Edgard Lumsden III
the CIA's covert airline
Lyle Edgard Lumsden III is an alleged CIA agent, and extraordinary rendition suspect. Lumsden is wanted in Germany on charges of kidnapping and causing serious bodily harm to Khalid El-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent.
The offences are alleged to have been committed as part of the CIA's extraordinary rendition program. According to German magazine Der Spiegel, "El-Masri says he was wrongly abducted on New Year's Eve 2003 in Macedonia and detained in various secret overseas prisons often referred to as 'black sites.' His five month ordeal finally ended when he was dumped on an abandoned road in Albania."
- 1956: Born.
- 1992: Retired from active duty, "...primarily having served as a physician’s assistant, according to U.S. Army records." (CBS News).
- 1990s: "...dispatched from Fort Bragg as a civil affairs expert to Haiti and Bosnia." (CBS News)
Der Spiegel offers some additional information about Lumsden:
- Also known as "Uncle Bud".
- A former member of the elite Green Berets combat unit.
- As of June 2007, he was living in apartment 801 in an 11 story apartment complex on Washington Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia.
- Has been stationed in Bavaria and Brussels.
- Has served in special units in Bosnia and Afghanistan.
Service in Bosnia
Lumsden was part of a handful of American soldiers who served in Bosnia as part of Operation Provide Promise in the mid 1990s. An affectionate profile of him by his journalist sister Carolyn Lumsden provides a wealth of detail:
- "'Sarajevo? We don't have any troops in Bosnia," the postman said when he saw the address on my Christmas package: 1st Lt. Lyle E. Lumsden, Operation Provide Promise, Sarajevo-Kiseljak. Surprise, surprise. We have about a half-dozen. One of them is my 38-year-old kid brother, affectionately known as Uncle Bud, a lifelong pal and fellow Mel Brooks fan. Since September, he's been living mostly in a hotel outside Sarajevo. He's exchanged his green beret for the U.N. blue one as part of a new Special Forces unit called Civil Military Operations Center. He arranges for medical care and evacuations of wounded civilians. He's home on a short break, due to return to Bosnia this week..."
- "My husband and I drove down to Fort Bragg in North Carolina last week to see Lyle and his wife, Janet, on his break... Lyle volunteered for Bosnia because he has medical training and speaks Serbo-Croatian, which he learned 10 years ago at the Army language school in California. That's where he met Janet, who speaks Polish, German and Spanish, in addition to English. She's since left Special Forces for a business career. Back in those days, Serbo Croatian seemed like a safe language for a military man to know -- not like Spanish. Learn that, and you'd get shipped to Honduras. Unlike his Spanish-speaking colleagues, Lyle led a charmed military life. He was stationed in Bavaria, he skiied in Alaska, jogged in Brussels and immunized children in Senegal."
Lumsden in Haiti
Later on in 1994, Lumsden was part of the United States invasion of Haiti that ousted President Jean Bertrand Aristide. According to a report a few days after the invasion:
- "Lieutenant Lyle Lumsden, 39, a medical officer with the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion of the Special Forces unit in Jacmel, has been assessing the town. 'The first echelon of need - food, water, shelter - looks really good,' he said. 'I've been looking for signs of malnutrition and anemia, and to tell you the truth, haven't seen any.' The biggest problem in Jacmel, he found, is lack of electricity. The power plant in town has run out of diesel fuel, and the hydro plant outside town has broken down. The X-ray machine at the hospital in Jacmel, provided by CIDA, has also broken down, and the Special Forces will be asking CIDA to get it repaired."
When floods hit Haiti a couple of months later, Lumsden was quoted on the relief operations:
- "Lt. Lyle Lumsden, a civil affairs expert from Fort Bragg attached to the Special Forces unit, said that before the flood, the city had been relatively well off, compared to much of the impoverished island, given that it had electric power, some sanitation and a water treatment facility. 'But now, everything has come to a complete stop,' he said. 'They're doing a pretty good job of cleaning up, but they could use some help.' Lumsden said the soldiers have intervened to put medications from the relief organizations into the hands of local nuns, in order to keep a local physician and health official from stealing them and selling it in their privately owned pharmacies."
Journalist sister shocked by arrest warrant, doesn't know where he is
When contacted by CBS News about the German arrest warrant, Carolyn Lumsden professed both shock and ignorance of her brother's whereabouts:
- "'I just don’t anything about this,' (sic) Lumsden’s sister, Carolyn, told CBS News. She could not say where her brother is at the present time or who he is working for... 'This is a nightmare,' his sister said. 'I just find this thing very Alice-in-Wonderland-like.'"
Articles and resources
- "13 Arrests Ordered In Alleged CIA Case: Munich Authorities Issue Warrants In Kidnapping Of German Citizen", CBS News including material from Associated Press, January 31, 2007.
- "Suspected CIA Kidnappers Identified", Der Spiegel, September 21, 2006.
- Zabasearch results for Lyle E. Lumsden. Undated, accessed August 25, 2007.
- "CIA Arrest Warrants Strain US-German Ties", Der Spiegel (English edition), June 25, 2007.
- Carolyn Lumsden, "A brother in Bosnia; No U.S. troops?", Hartford Courant (Connecticut), February 13, 1994.
- "Tranquillity rules in Haitian town - U.S. troops have established friendly links with the Haitian army but some think they are walking a tightrope", The Globe and Mail (Canada), September 29, 1994.
- Susanne M. Schafer, "Soldiers Turn Saviors in Haitian Floods", Associated Press, November 15, 1994.
Related SourceWatch articles
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- Eric Robert Hume (alias Eric Matthew Fain)
- Extraordinary rendition
- Harry Kirk Elarbee (alias Kirk James Bird)
- James Kovalesky (alias James Richard Fairing)
- Planes alleged to have been used for extraordinary rendition
Other external articles
- "In power vacuum, Aristide gets his clout from abroad", Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, October 25, 1994. Quotes Lumsden in Haiti.