”In their campaign against the Kurds, we got the impression that the Iraqis wanted to finish the whole business.”
A regional diplomat
After having learned of the existence of a videotape made by the Navy which documents the events that led to the downing of an Iranian airliner by the USS Vincennes on July 3, NBC News requested a copy under the Freedom of Information Act.
On Friday, NBC release the 34-minutes videotape which offers close-up glimpse of the dramatic scene aboard the cruiser.
The video tape shows two missiles being launched toward the Iranian airliner and the reaction of the crew. ”We had to have hit it – that was a dead-on,” one crewman is yelling with excitement.
The mood changed about 10 minutes later when the crewmen learned they had downed a civilian plane.
The tape only shows the bridge crew and contained no footage of the combat information center where, according to the Pentagon report, the critical errors were made.
Last week, Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci announced that no one would be disciplined for the downing of the jetliner.
Why the captain of the ship erroneously concluded that the plane was descending, that it was issuing a signal identifying it as a military plane and that it was outside a commercial air corridor remains a complete mystery.
Back to the Present (2008)
Among the various issues raised by R. Marquise regarding a post on Pr Black website, the following one is particularly important. (See Part 55 — August 26, 1988, Letter from Marquise to Pr Black, point 9)
“Cannistraro retired in August 1990– I know because I had the FBI Director write him a letter upon his retirement. The CIA did a good thing after he left their employ in the CTC–they named a Secret Service agent to lead their aspect of the investigation. The MEBO connection had not yet been fleshed out by the time VC left CIA,” the former FBI agent, who led the investigation, wrote.
The statement of Marquise is confirmed by The Independent (Dec 19 1990) that quotes Cannistraro as saying that the identification of the timer linking the bombing to Libya was made after he left the CIA.
I wrote to Cannistraro to ask him when he had left the agency. His answer was not extremely helpful.
“Why is that important to you? The FBI, not the CIA, was responsible for the criminal investigation,” Cannistraro replied.
Cannistraro left the CIA in November 1990. FBI SSA Thomas Thurman said that he identified the MEBO timer on June 15 1990. “When that identification was made, of the timer, I knew that we had it,” Thurman said.
There can be little doubt about that considering that one of the MEBO founder had already told the CIA back in January 1989 that he had sold this equipment to Libya. Thus, it is abundantly obvious that the bombing of Pan Am 103 was linked to Libya long before Cannistraro retired from the CIA. The finding is not without importance.
“Vincent M. Cannistraro, a veteran CIA operations officer and director of intelligence on the National Security Council staff, and Howard R. Teicher, the director of the office of political military affairs in the NSC, supported the disinformation and deception plan [targeting the Libyan regime of Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi],” Bob Woodward wrote in the Washington Post.
Cannistraro would appear to agree. “I developed the policy toward Libya. In fact, I even wrote the draft paper that was later adopted by the President,” he once boasted.
NOTES AND REFERENCES