CIA Analyst Questioned Bomb Target
Jun. 24, 1999
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A new report suggests that warnings by a CIA analyst who questioned the targeting last month of a building that turned out to be the Chinese embassy in Belgrade went unheeded.
The Washington Post reported in its editions today that the analyst had some familiarity with the United States' intended target _ a Yugoslav arms purchasing agency _ and was not sure his colleagues had correctly located it on the map.
``I'm not sure that's the right building,'' the mid-level analyst was quoted by a further unidentified senior U.S. intelligence official as telling his colleagues.
The May 7 bombing of the embassy killed three Chinese journalists and injured 20 others. China has insisted for weeks that the bombing was deliberate.
Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering visited Beijing last week, repeating U.S. claims the bombing was accidental and presenting a detailed report on it to Chinese officials. Pickering on Wednesday briefed some members of Congress on his trip.
A classified internal report by the CIA's inspector general given to some members of Congress makes note of the analyst's warnings to his colleagues, the Post said.
Another intelligence officer said the analyst ``raised his doubts with working level counterparts'' at both the CIA and the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany. But the questions ``were never raised to senior levels before the strike took place,'' the newspaper quoted the intelligence officer as saying.
An intelligence officer got the correct address of the Yugoslav arms agency from the Internet but then used the number of buildings on parallel streets to mistakenly identify its location on a map of Belgrade, the newspaper quoted a State Department official as saying.
Target planners had used an outdated map, which didn't show the embassy had moved, the offical said.