News February 15th 2009 CIA speaks on North Korea Aircraft Incident
Following recent claims by the North Korean press that a civilian transport aircraft was shot down by an American fighter plane, Director Reynolds of the CIA issued a press release today to a world waiting for answers.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for coming here today. I will get straight to the point and hopefully there will be some time for questions at the end, although I’m sure you will appreciate that some matters will need to remain sensitive while further investigations are carried out.
It is my duty to speak on behalf of American forces in North Korea, who are presently looking into the case of an alleged interception of a civilian aircraft by an American fighter jet. The aircraft claimed to have been shot down by both the Coalition, and the North Koreans, was an Antonov AN-2. The North Koreans claim that this aircraft was civilian, although it is necessary for me to point out that North Korea have previously used this type of aircraft in a combat role, and that the aircraft had entered airspace that is presently patrolled by allied aircraft.
Our reports show that the aircraft was not listed on any civilian registers in North Korea.
The American F-16 type aircraft, which was patrolling in the area at the time, was instructed by Tactical Air Command to engage the other aircraft, which he did so by firing a missile from approximately four miles range.
The pilot, Lt. J. Wheeler of 36th Fighter Squadron, Osan Airforce Base, has been cleared of all charges and his family have been informed.
Tactical Air Command are continuing investigations into the incident, although based on the evidence presented so far, I can state for the record that we believe that the aircraft shot down was a military plane.”
In subsequent questioning, Director Reynolds stated some further details on the nature of the evidence compiled, but gave no conclusive proof that the aircraft shot down by the US warplane was not a civilian one.
America makes up some fifty per cent of allied forces in North Korea, along with contingents from the UK, and UN forces brought in from Belgium, Singapore and Japan. The situation there has been more or less a stalemate for the last couple of years, with occasional guerrilla-style attacks occurring along the demilitarised zone at seemingly random intervals. While small numbers of casualties have been sustained on both sides, North Korea has generally been regarded as having had its wings clipped by the Coalition, since the fighting there in Summer 2007. At that time, allied forces more or less wiped out the North Korean air defences, leaving only a handful of civilian aircraft in an airworthy condition.
If this incident did indeed involve a North Korean military aircraft as the CIA claims, it could indicate a rearming of North Korean forces, which is sure to be an alarming prospect to the governments of Coalition countries.
Reports from sources within the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea also indicate a general state of unrest over the incident. The Coalition presence south of the demilitarised zone is viewed as hostile by the North Koreans, and this event has only served to compound that attitude.
Meanwhile, Lt. Wheeler, the pilot said to have carried out the strike, is reported to be continuing to fly missions up to the DMZ, although his aircraft, an F-16C Fighting Falcon, was initially grounded to extract valuable flight recorder data that could prove vital in gaining evidence to help the case of the US Airforce, and has allowed Lt. Wheeler to clear his name.
This news has come at a critical time during the drawn out campaign by allied forces in Korea, who are already under pressure from active terrorist cells and anti-western groups such as the Knights Of Azear, who have called for a complete withdrawal of Coalition forces from the area. When questioned about this, Director Reynolds stated that the allies had no intention of withdrawing from the Korean theatre at this time.
More news as it happens.
SNNAircraft Oscar Sierra Zero Four Three, an F-16C/D Block 40 from Osan Air Force Base, that shot down a North Korean Antonov AN-2 Colt in October 2008, whilst piloted by Lt. Jake "Wheels" Wheeler.