March 25, 2009 2:35 PM

Why secretly funded DEA surveillance planes aren't flying

The first sign of trouble with the Drug Enforcement Administration's new surveillance planes surfaced almost immediately. On the way from the manufacturer to the agency's aviation headquarters, one of them veered off a runway during a fuel stop. The malfunction was only the beginning and in January, after less than 10 months of operation, the DEA grounded the planes, which are now slated to be broken up and sold for parts. The story behind the planes and why the DEA purchased them illustrates the pitfalls of so-called "black," or classified, budgets.

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