BTTR REBUTS AND/OR RAISES MORE QUESTIONS ON
THE RESPONSES BY COL. MICHAEL C. McMAHAN, DEPUTY J-3 FOR THE ATLANTIC COMMAND, ON BEHALF OF SEADS AND NORAD, TO THE MEMBERS’ QUESTIONS AT THE HEARING ON THE SHOOTDOWN OF THE HOUSE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE, WESTERN HEMISPHERE SUBCOMMITEE ON SEPT. 18, 1996.
After Col. McMahan and Another Government Witness Pleaded Ignorance to Most of the Members’ Questions During the Hearing, These Responses Were Subsequently Submitted and Inserted for the Record.
BTTR REBUTS AND/OR RAISES MORE QUESTIONS ON THE FOLLOWING CLAIMS/INFORMATION PROVIDED BY SEADS/NORAD: (in chronological order, where applicable)
I. SEADS/NORAD claim no knowledge of Cuban hostile intent on Feb 24, 1996 until the first aircraft was shot down.
II. NORAD/SEADS claim that there was no “elaborate plan” known to them for tracking the BTTR flight of Feb 24, 1996.
III. NORAD/SEADS claim that they have never provided BTTR warning of MiGs airborne north of Cuba.
IV. SEADS claims that Cuba had given BTTR a legitimate “warning” on Feb 24, 1996.
V. SEADS claims that standard operating procedures (SOP) for the scrambling of US interceptors were followed on Feb 24, 1996 at the time of the shoot down.
VI. SEADS claims that it followed standard operating procedures (SOP) for scrambling US interceptors on Feb 24, 1996. (BTTR’s note: On Feb 24, 1996, before the departure of the BTTR flight, SOP were followed. They were not followed when BTTR aircraft were in “harm’s way”.)
VII. SEADS claims that “at the time of the intercept, some BTTR aircraft were within 10 nm of Cuban sovereign airspace”.
VIII. SEADS claims that (a) there was a well known pattern of interception of BTTR planes established by the MiGs and (b) it is not unusual to see MiGs operating inside the Cuban ADIZ.
IX. SEADS claims that the interceptors at Homestead Air Force Base were taken down from battlestations alert from 3:20 to 3:35 PM, the period that included both shootdowns, due to a “communication mix-up”
X. SEADS claims that on Feb 24, 1996 loss of life was not preventable and that Basulto was never threatened post shootdown.
XI. SEADS claims that the MiGs never crossed the 24th parallel, never threatened US sovereign airspace, and never gave chase to Basulto’s plane.
XII. SEADS claims that there was no need to contact BTTR during the 53 minutes documented chase by the MiGs of the BTTR aircraft on Feb 24, 1996.
XIII. SEADS did not provide answers to the following questions: 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30 and 34.