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Crew had started to destroy sensitive equipment

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Pentagon officials said Monday the crew of the U.S. spy plane that made an emergency landing over the weekend on Chinese soil began procedures to destroy the plane's sensitive technology, but said they did not know how far they got.

The team had been trained in a procedure to destroy equipment and paper that included the use of hammers, axes, and shredders.

"The expectation would have been if they were going somewhere where the equipment would have been compromised, they would begin the process of destroying the equipment," the official said, adding, "we are not sure if that was accomplished."

Sources said destruction procedures can include electronic means of destroying sensitive software and hardware. In some cases, two solutions which create an acid can be combined internally to destroy sophisticated circuit boards.

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But a senior Pentagon official said he was not sure if the equipment on this EP-3 included this type of destruction equipment.

One military source said the most sensitive equipment involves decryption devices, which can descramble electronic communications. Knowing how the United States eavesdrops on its communications would be invaluable to the Chinese government.



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RELATED SITES:
USCINCPAC Homepage
The Pentagon
U.S. Navy
 • Navy Fact File: EP-3E ORION (ARIES II) Aircraft
U.S. Department of Defense
Government of China (in Chinese)
U.S. Department of State
Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the U.S.A.
Government Information Office, Republic of China

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