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Spratly Islands - that's classified

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by KJIM, May 24, 2015.

  1. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    So in my corner of the world, CNN is wetting itself because a reporter was on a classified mission and something went wrong.

    No idea how big the news is in the US, but a US spy plane was ordered to leave what China considers its air space near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

    My question, and maybe someone with political news-side experience can enlighten me: How does a reporter get on a classified mission? What's the purpose, especially from the perspective of the Department of (?). Extreme deep background is all I can think of, but what the heck? And what made this an unclass mission all of a sudden? Because something went wrong? Because a Delta flight overheard the conversation? When did it become OK for the CNN guy to talk about this?
  2. Vombatus

    Vombatus Well-Known Member

    News of this incident made it stateside. It was portrayed as a routine surveillance mission, with no doubt some radar probing and signal collection, during which CNN was embedded. The airspace is disputed since China has created the man made islands and are claiming extended territorial, offshore boundaries that the U.S. doesn't recognize.

    I have a hard time believing that CNN embedded a team without getting the prior okay to be able to tell some version of what is going on up there.

    There was also news over the past two weeks that a U.S. Navy ship, a DDG I think, has been off those waters and warned as well.

    Typical cat and mouse. China is the Navy's biggest 21st century threat so far.

    I like to ask folks what was the biggest international incident immediately prior to 9/11.

    The answer: there was a midair collision between a similar U.S. plane and a Chinese fighter aircraft, in April 2001. The Chinese plane and pilot were lost, and the damaged U.S. plane landed on a Chinese island before all the intel information and equipment could be destroyed. It took over a week to get the crew freed, and a U.S. team eventually was allowed to dismantle the plane and fly the pieces home, but not before the Chinese went over it with a fine-toothed comb.

    I always admire that the pilot saved his crew, but I wish he had ditched that thing over the open ocean.
  3. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    Vomb, I wish he had too. They had parachutes, right?
  4. Vombatus

    Vombatus Well-Known Member

    Probably, but I am not sure if they were wearing them, or would have to put them on. There were 24 personnel on that plane.

    Hainan Island incident - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The workstations don't have ejection seats like a fighter plane would. The pilot seats don't have them either.

    In WW2, damaged bombers would return to England, and if surviving a landing was questionable, the crew members able to bail out would jump, and then the pilots would attempt to land the plane to save the wounded onboard who couldn't jump.

    I had wished they had done something similar in this incident. Bailout 22 of them, and then the pilots fly it as far offshore to deep water as possible and ditch it.

    But I understand that after the midair collision, the plane was very difficult to control and fly. So, it wasn't quite so simple.

    They were still destroying docs and equipment after landing, until the Chinese forced them out and got onboard.
  5. TigerVols

    TigerVols Well-Known Member

    Wasn't it 9/10/01 or the day before when Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld gave a lengthy speech at the Pentagon outlining his very controversial plans to slash the military budget and staffing?
  6. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    I also wonder if he could have made it to Vietnam.
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