Book Details Summary: The title of this book is The Target Is Destroyed: What Really Happened to Flight 007 and What America Knew About It and it was written by Seymour M. Hersh. This edition of The Target Is Destroyed: What Really Happened to Flight 007 and What America Knew About It is in a Hardcover format. This books publish date is September 1, 1986 and it has a suggested retail price of $17.95. It was published by Random House, Inc.. The 10 digit ISBN is 0394542614 and the 13 digit ISBN is 9780394542614.
: The Target Is Destroyed: What Really Happened To Flight 007 And What America Knew About It (Hardcover) This is a book about the selective use - and misuse - of intelligence information.
On Sept. 1 1983, a Soviet fighter pilot was ordered to shoot down Korean Airlines Flight 007, even though the pilot argued with his superiors and repeatedly identified the plane as a civilian plane. Breaking with usual intelligence policies, the Reagan administration released the recorded conversation between the fighter pilot and ground control to news media and the world.
This breach was made for political reasons. The impression this was intended to create was that it was standard Soviet policy to shoot down civilian airliners. This jeopardized our future intelligence-gathering capabilities, because it gave away to the Soviets just how sophisticated our intelligence-gathering was, and the extent to which Norway was providing us with info.
Many U.S. intelligence officers were dismayed by the way this was done, because the Reagan administration also withheld all information about the intense U.S. military activity that was being conducted in the area with reconfigured civilian aircraft. For the past several years, the U.S. had been routinely flying specially-configured Boeing 707s equipped with electronic communications surveillance equipment over the Barents sea and other areas that KAL flew over. In fact, a Cobra Ball surveillance plane was in the air to the south of the KAL flight path the same day. George Schultz made sure Cobra Ball was safely in its hangar before they made any announcements about the shootdown of a civilian plane.
The U.S. had also performed massive military maneuvers with three carriers and 23,000 personnell just off Soviet Far Eastern waters six months earlier (in March of 1983), and six U.S. fighter jets overflew Soviet airspace during these exercises. While officially the U.S. claimed the overflight by the six fighters was a mistake, this was widely believed among the U.S. intelligence community to be a deliberate provocation by the U.S. military.
Soviets often put civilian markings on military transports, and given all the increased U.S. military and surveillance activity just off Soviet territorial waters in 1981-83, it becomes far more plausible that the commanding Soviet officers on the ground suspected that Americans had done the same thing with one of our electronic surveillance planes.
The U.S. and Canada shared intelligence information, and the Reagan administration was very unhappy with Canada because Prime Minister Trudeau (based on the same intelligence information provided to the U.S.) said he was sure the Soviets made a tragic mistake, and believed they were shooting down a U.S. intelligence plane that, like the six fighters earlier that year, was testing their defenses and their response times.
Want to know more? You'll have to read the book.