No official word has been given about who was on a government jet parked at Jackson Hole Airport on Aug. 1-3, but the mystery plane’s appearance coincided with a secretive medical conference in Teton Village.
Multiple off-the-record sources told the News&Guide the VIP on the jet was CIA Director John Brennan, in town for the same conference that drew former President Bill Clinton and CNN correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. That would correspond with the U.S. Air Force’s acknowledgement that it had a C-40B in the valley, but the military’s public affairs desk has refused to say who the jet’s passengers were or why it was here.
A C-40B, according to the Air Force’s website, is “designed to be an ‘office in the sky’ for senior military and government leaders,” and its primary users are military combatant commanders. It’s not unobtrusive; the Boeing 737 body it uses is 110 feet long and 41 feet high, with a paint scheme that matches Air Force One.
Meanwhile, the Breakthroughs in Medicine and Technology Summit 2015 brought dozens of people to Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole. The only information on the Internet about the event comes from three social media channels.
Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a 63-year-old heart and lung transplant surgeon, posted four photos from the event on Aug. 1. He said he was there speaking to “some of the leading minds in medicine, science and innovation.” One image shows 25 people in the audience, Frist at a podium and Gupta sitting in a chair onstage in the Cottonwood Ballroom of the Four Seasons.
The next day, Frist posted again on Facebook about the conference, saying, “The future of cancer treatment is in precision medicine and leveraging our ‘natural killer cells.’”
Frist’s policy assistant, Erin Ingraham Rogus, posted an 11-second video on Instagram on Aug. 2 showing Clinton speaking in front of a fireplace at the conference.
“We have one remaining bigotry in America,” Clinton says in the video. “Most of us don’t want to be around anybody who disagrees with us, and we don’t want to get information from anybody who disagrees with us.”
Four Seasons General Manager Michael Mestraud did not return multiple phone calls over a nine-day span. His assistant said he had received the messages but was too busy.
There was widespread online speculation that Clinton used the government jet, but his office said he did not.
Snake River Taxi owner Tyler Pitman, who drove a limousine through the Jackson Hole Aviation gate on the morning of the jet’s departure, said the VIPs he brought to the tarmac were from Atlanta and got on a smaller private jet.
“It would have been cool if it had been” his customers on the Air Force plane, Pitman said. “You never know what you’re going to see here.”