U.S. CONGRESS TO REOPEN MERCHANT SHIP LASER INCIDENT.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 153
A Congressional committee wants to see if the Pentagon adequately investigated an April incident in which a Russian merchant ship was suspected of firing a laser that injured the eyes of an American naval officer. The officer was a liaison officer aboard a Canadian helicopter that photographed the Russian ship, the Kapitan Man, on April 4 as it sailed through the Strait of Juan De Fuca enroute to Tacoma, Washington. An American Trident-class ballistic missile submarine was in the vicinity and military authorities suspected that the Kapitan Man was collecting intelligence about the submarine. The U.S. Coast Guard searched the ship after it arrived in Tacoma and could not find a laser. A subsequent Pentagon investigation determined that there was no evidence to indicate the source of the laser that injured the officer. However, it was later revealed that one compartment of the ship had not been searched because the ship’s crew claimed they could not find the key to open it.
The new inquiry was requested by Rep. Norm Dicks, who represents the Washington district which includes Bangor where the Trident submarines are based. Some Congressmen are said to suspect that the Clinton administration might have minimized the incident so as not to upset Russian-American relations during the sensitive negotiations over Russia’s relationship with NATO. (Washington Times, August 18)
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