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KAL 007 Seen by US Reconnaissance (Continuation)



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KAL 007's Intrusion Seen by U.S. Reconnaissance! (Continued)

The following is information that has come into the "Committee for the Rescue" in response to the previous posting (please read) concerning KAL 007's intrusion into Soviet airspace being known to the crew of the RC-135 then off the coast of Kamchatka on its mission to capture telemetry from the Soviet secret test launching of the first of all mobile Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, the illegal SS-25 which was to come down on Kamchatka's Klyuchi target range (for more info, see http://www.6srw.com/)

This information has been conveyed to us (for the first time) by men who had been intimately involved operationally with the reconnaissance operations from Shemya Island or who had been in touch with these men. As in the first article concerning the RC-135 mission, for the present, the identity of the informants needs to be concealed. As the investigation progresses, and with permission, that may change.

Having passed the sleepy fishing village of Bethel on Alaska's west coast, and deviated (according to military radar at King Salmon, Alaska) 12.6 nautical miles north of "Romeo 20", its assigned route, KAL 007 soon reached its first oceanic "reporting waypoint" - NABIE. Then, halfway between waypoint NABIE and the next required reporting waypoint, NEEVA, KAL 007 passed through the southern portion of the United States Air Force NORAD (North American Air Defense) buffer zone. This zone, monitored intensively by U. S. Intelligence assets, lies north of Romeo 20 and was off-limits to civilian aircraft.

It was either here, or, perhaps, already in the Soviet Buffer Zone, which KAL 007, according to State Department release, had intruded at 1551GMT, that the straying passenger plane was known by the RC-135 crew to be entering into Soviet space. It is not known that the RC-135 crew had a visual sighting of KAL 007, nor if they, indeed, had radio contact with the jumbo jet, but by the testimony in the previous posting concerning the intrusion, the Russian language linguists and translators, as well as the Electronic Warfare Officers, the "Ravens", sitting to the rear of the RC-135, became aware through the intercepted Soviet Air Defense ground chatter, and by the Soviet radar on Kamchatka lighting up, that the passenger plane was intruding Soviet controlled airspace. From the information conveyed to us, it was clear that there was a way available to the reconnaissance crew to warn KAL 007 away without endangering their primary mission - the capture of SS-25's telemetry. This was by transmitting a secure channel "Critic Report".


If the RC-135 had become aware of an attempt to shoot down an airliner [and I would add - enter harm's way by intruding Soviet air space. B.S.], it would have immediately sent out a Critic report via a secure HF link to the closest ground station, in this case Elmendorf; that would have been immediately relayed to NSA and the appropriate authorities would have been notified. A Critic is the highest intelligence report that intelligence agencies can issue. It is sent at Flash precedence, which literally overrides anything else on the net. A ground station cannot override a Critic. One of its criteria is that it has to come to the attention of the highest command authorities within ten minutes, preferably less. The president would have known about it almost immediately after NSA got the report. The aircraft commander would also have been notified of this. The RC-135 would have been diverted, within fuel limits, to get closer to the action. He could have sent out a Mayday on the emergency frequencies, 121.5 MHz and 243.00 MHz. If the RC-135 had been aware of it, ground stations all around the world would also have been aware of it, as well at the National Sigint Operations Center at NSA. The airliner would have been notified.

It is not known if, indeed, a Critic Report was transmitted by the RC-135. If a report had been transmitted by the RC-135, a decision was taken somewhere further up, not to warn KAL 007. This is apparent from KAL007's Cockpit Voice Recorder tape transcripts, handed over by the Russian Federation, which clearly show that the flight crew of KAL 007, throughout the entire flight until the Soviet Su-15's attack at 18:26 GMT had remained oblivious to the danger into which they had entered.

But what possible reason could there be for KAL 007 not to be warned? This is supplied by another informant.


... I began working at Anchorage International Airport. I started with the American company that ground handled all the Korean Air Lines flights through here. For several years I worked side by side with the KAL dispatchers and station personnel who were directly involved with KAL 007. One of my coworkers, had prepared the flight documents, and given them to the doomed crew. Although I had started shortly after the downing of the Korean aircraft, the memory of the whole affair was still fresh in everyone’s mind.

I met, and became close friends with a young gentleman who was fresh out of the air force, and was now working in the civilian aviation industry.
[Name deleted]... had close ties with friends who were still airmen at Elmendorf Air Force Base. The first time we spoke of the KAL flight, the normally jovial ... became very serious, and told me a story. As was habit at the time, ... met with one of his air force buddies after work for drinks. The airman worked at one of the base operations, dealing with the most sensitive and classified communications. He was visibly shaken when ... met with him. He worked with secret information, but alcohol tends to loosen lips. This was within hours of the (supposed) destruction of KAL 007. The airman’s words were, "I can’t believe we did that!" He went on to tell my friend a story of how the civilian 747 had accidentally strayed off course, and how the U.S. had decided to use it to an intelligence advantage. The RC-135 was in a pattern near the USSR, and when the planes were in position, The RC deliberately mimicked the 747 in order to ‘tickle’ the Russian radar, as was the normal routine of the RC. No attempt was made to contact the 747 and let it know it was off course. As the RC traveled away, the civilian jet traveled toward Russia. According to the airman, no one expected that the Soviets would actually shoot it down...

I fully realize that the above testimony is not proof and that the thrust of an "intelligence bonus" has been conjectured before. But this is the first time that there have been people coming forth to say, in one case, by an airman that had flown with the actual crew on their return to home base who had come back late and as white as ghosts saying, "Watch CNN when you get back," in another case, by an airman from those same Shemya RC-135 reconnaissance missions, that disaster could have been averted simply by the use of the Critic Report, and in yet another case, albeit twice removed, resting on testimony within hours of the incident and involving classified operational information indicating the "window of opportunity" intelligence gathering motive.

But here I would emphasize, "no one expected that the Soviets would actually shoot it down...."

Who will, then, take up with us the important work of verifying these important leads, and seeking for more? Who will investigate thoroughly what Governments have failed to do till this day? Who will pen those articles and write that book so that all of us can learn and act?

For the Rescue,

Bert Schlossberg
Director, The International Committee for the Rescue of KAL 007 Survivors, Inc.


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Last modified: March 10, 2009

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