Egypt Officers’ Trip Was Official
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Most of the 33 Egyptian military officers aboard the doomed EgyptAir Flight 990 were in the United States to meet or train with U.S. defense contractors, the Pentagon said Thursday.
Spokesman Kenneth Bacon gave a breakdown of the officers that he said was provided by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. Nothing about the officers suggests they were targets of terrorists, he said.
Bacon said there were five separate groups on official business sponsored by the Egyptian Ministry of Defense. Five other officers were in the United States on personal business, possibly as tourists.
Of those on official business, six were visiting a commercial contractor in Boston that was providing network planning and communications analysis services to the Egyptian military under a private contract.
Seven more officers was receiving and testing two H-3 helicopters from a contractor, Bacon said. They had stayed at Fort Rucker, Ala.
Six people in a third group were in California receiving training from a private contractor on high frequency telecommunications equipment, Bacon said. Three other officers were in Florida for training on telecommunications equipment, also under a commercial contract.
The six people in the fifth group were attending a conference related to repairing Chaparral missiles, Bacon said.
The five officers who were in the United States on personal business had visas not sponsored by the Ministry of Defense, he said.
The number of Egyptian military officers who visit the United States each year varies but in recent years has averaged about 1,000, Bacon said.