Pentagon says it did not intentionally manipulate Kosovo war tape
January 6, 2000
By Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon says crew members aboard a U.S. fighter jet didn't see a moving civilian passenger train in time to avoid destroying it last April 13 during the war in Yugoslavia.
Now, the Pentagon admits that the video released after the attack, which was meant to demonstrate the quick appearance of the train, was sped up almost three times faster than normal time.
"The product was presented as the intelligence analyst normally would see it, and that is not a manipulation," said Pentagon spokesman P.J. Crowley.
Defense Department officials said such videos often are digitally compressed for quick review.
'Not sufficient time' to divert missile
At the time, Yugoslav authorities said at least 10 people had been killed in the train attack and another 16 had been injured.
Pentagon officials have not released the original cockpit video of the attack. But CNN has slowed down the compressed version to simulate what the tape might look like at regular speed.
The F-15 fighter was using AGM-130s, a missile that the crew can actually steer through a camera in its nose. The crew had fired the missile at a bridge.
The simulation suggested that the officer who guided the bomb, with only a limited view of the TV target screen, had only three seconds at most to react to the oncoming train as it began crossing the bridge.
"There was not sufficient time, once that missile was launched, to divert it once they saw the train," Crowley said.
Controversy uncovered by German newspaper
U.S. Air Force officials became aware of the tape's fast speed months ago. But they only explained it after a German newspaper ran a story questioning NATO's account of the attack.
But the Pentagon adamantly insisted that the F-15 crew did nothing wrong and that the train tragedy was unavoidable.
Serbs demand better KFOR protection from Kosovo Albanians
Focus on Kosovo
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.