Military knew O'Grady jet was targeted

July 08, 1995|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- U.S. military officials knew a hostile missile radar was tracking Capt. Scott F. O'Grady's F-16 fighter jet several minutes before he was shot down over Bosnia-Herzegovina last month, but could not alert him, military officials said yesterday.

A Pentagon report on the causes of the downing concludes that the NATO AWACS plane that would have relayed the warning to the pilot lacked sophisticated equipment used to transmit and receive highly classified electronic messages from U.S. intelligence officials.

By the time military officials relayed the warning to the AWACS plane through an unclassified radio transmission, a Bosnian Serb SA-6 missile had hit the Air Force F-16 Falcon.

Defense Secretary William J. Perry and CIA Director John M. Deutch both said military officials did well in collecting and analyzing the intelligence on the SA-6 missile, but a poor job in transmitting that information to the endangered pilots.

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