Gulf War pilot’s status still ‘missing-captured’
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  1. #1

    Cool Gulf War pilot’s status still ‘missing-captured’

    March 02, 2004

    Gulf War pilot’s status still ‘missing-captured’

    By Robert Burns
    Associated Press

    Nearly a year after the fall of Baghdad, the Navy has yet to find evidence to change its position that F-18 fighter pilot Michael Scott Speicher, shot down on the opening night of the 1991 Gulf War, was at one time in Iraqi captivity, the Navy’s top admiral said Tuesday.
    Iraq has maintained all along that Speicher was killed in the crash. The Navy, which has changed its position on Speicher’s status over the years, lists him as “missing-captured.”

    “We have not found out new specific intelligence revelations that have changed our fundamental conclusion,” Adm. Vern Clark, the chief of naval operation, told a group of reporters at a breakfast interview.

    In October 2002 the Navy changed Speicher’s status from missing in action to “missing-captured,” although it has never said what evidence it has that he was in captivity. He initially was listed as killed in action, with no body recovered. But in January 2001, the Navy changed his status to MIA, citing an absence of evidence that he had died.

    Asked directly whether any evidence had emerged to support the Navy’s position that Speicher had been taken captive by the Iraqis after he was shot down on Jan. 17, Clark said, “I can’t answer that question.”

    Later a senior Navy official, speaking on condition of anonymity, conceded that no information has emerged that reinforces the theory that Speicher had ever been in captivity.

    In fact, other officials have said in recent months that some information from informants, claiming before the U.S. invasion last March that Speicher had been seen in a prison in Baghdad, has since been discredited.

    Clark said resolving the fate of Speicher is a high priority for the Navy.

    “We do not have new intelligence that adds clarity and definition to what happened to him” after he was shot down, Clark said. “If you think about what I just told you, that tells you something about the discovery or lack of discovery.”

    Speicher was 33 when he was shot down. He held the rank of lieutenant commander at the time; he has since been promoted to captain. Speicher’s family lived in the Kansas City area and moved to Florida when he was a teenager.



  2. #2
    The Washington Times

    FBI lab probes initials of pilot
    By Bill Gertz
    Published March 3, 2004

    An FBI laboratory is investigating evidence obtained in Iraq regarding missing Navy pilot Capt. Michael Scott Speicher, U.S. officials say.
    Investigators are trying to determine whether the initials "MSS" found carved on a wooden beam at an Iraqi prison were made by Capt. Speicher, who might have been held captive there after his F-18 jet was shot down in 1991.
    Vice Adm. Lowell Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, stated in Senate testimony that evidence related to the case was turned over to the laboratory in Quantico, Va., as part of "a relatively small number of active leads still being pursued" by investigators in Iraq.
    "There's still some forensic work being done by FBI laboratories on the beam with the initials on it and some other materials that have been brought back, and we don't have a final report out from them," Adm. Jacoby said.
    A defense official said yesterday the investigation is ongoing. The FBI is using its high-technology resources at the laboratory to analyze the letters to find out what kind of carving tool might have been used.
    Adm. Jacoby said the search for Capt. Speicher remains "an active case."
    The Navy's top admiral said yesterday there is no evidence to change Capt. Speicher's status from "missing-captured."
    "We have not found out new specific intelligence revelations that have changed our fundamental conclusion," said Adm. Vern Clark, the chief of naval operations.
    Cindy Laquidara, a Florida lawyer who represents Capt. Speicher's family, said yesterday she has heard about talk in the Pentagon of changing Capt. Speicher's status back to "killed in action."
    A Navy official, however, said there is not enough evidence to reclassify Capt. Speicher as killed in acton.
    Mrs. Laquidara said the U.S. military has top Iraqi officials in custody who would have information on Capt. Speicher and that she wants to interview them.
    Iraq insisted before the recent war that Capt. Speicher was dead, and Saddam Hussein had told military interrogators in December, shortly after his capture, that he knew nothing about the fate of the pilot.
    The letters "MSS" were found scrawled on a cell wall in the Hakmiyah prison in Iraq where informants have said an American prisoner was held.
    Capt. Speicher went missing on Jan. 17, 1991, after his F-18 Hornet was hit by a missile on the first night of the Persian Gulf war.
    The Navy initially classified Capt. Speicher as killed in action, but later reclassified him as missing, based on intelligence that he had survived the crash and that Iraq was holding an American pilot. During a visit to the crash site several years ago, investigators found Capt. Speicher's flight suit.



  3. #3

    Cool Attorney for Speicher family wants to interview Iraqis in Iraq

    Thursday, March 4
    Attorney for Speicher family wants to interview Iraqis in Iraq

    The Associated Press

    An attorney representing the family of missing Navy pilot Scott Speicher
    is asking for permission to interview captured Iraqi officials to see if
    she can determine what happened to the pilot who was shot in 1991 in the
    first war with Iraq.

    In a letter faxed to U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts, R_Kan., and Bill Nelson,
    D_Fla., attorney Cindy Laquidara said she had independent evidence placing
    Speicher in the custody of the man known as Chemical Ali, former Iraqi
    Gen. Ali Hassan al_Majid.

    Al_Majid, captured by coalition forces in August, was considered to have
    been Saddam Hussein's hatchet man and the one who ordered a gas attack
    that killed 5,000 Kurds in 1988.

    Laquidara also wants the government's help in locating Iraq's former
    ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammed Aldouri, for additional

    In 2002, Laquidara traveled to New York and met with Aldouri. When Saddam
    Hussein was ousted, he left New York.

    "We either are not capable of closing this matter following a war or we do
    not choose to pursue the answer," Laquidara's letter said. "Either is

    Nelson's office said copies of the letter were given to Secretary of State
    Colin Powell and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

    Calls to Laquidara's office Thursday were not returned.

    At a recent briefing, Nelson learned the Defense Department was now not
    planning to offer the reward of up to $1 million that was authorized by
    Congress to learn the fate of the Jacksonville_based pilot.

    Nelson wrote a letter to Rumsfeld asking him to not reconsider his earlier
    decision on offering a reward.

    "I believe such an action would be a mistake," Nelson said. "At the very
    least, it would send a clear signal that finding out what happened to
    Scott Speicher is no longer a top priority."

    Pete Contosgavlos, a Nelson aide, said, "Rewards in countries like this
    can be effective."

    Earlier this week, Adm. Vern Clark, the chief of naval operations, said
    investigations in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad have found no evidence
    that Speicher was held in captivity after being shot down on the first
    night of the 1991 Gulf War.

    The Iraqi government under President Saddam Hussein maintained from the
    start that Speicher died in the crash on Jan. 17, 1991, although his body
    was not recovered.

    Speicher was 33 when he was shot down. He held the rank of lieutenant
    commander at the time; he has since been promoted to captain.



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