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The Target Is Destroyed: What Really Happened To Flight 007 And What America Knew About It Hardcover – August 12, 1986


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (August 12, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394542614
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394542614
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #808,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The Soviet destruction in September 1983 of 269 people aboard Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was one of the most upsetting crises of the Cold War era. The U.S. and Soviet regimes immediately blamed one another for the disaster; but, as Hersh powerfully argues, responsibility went far beyond ordinary governmental decision making and into the murky sphere of superpower intelligence calculations and confusion. He asserts that the catastrophe followed more from Soviet ignorance than viciousness, and that the whole episode demonstrates how the superpowers are more interested in gaining political advantage than the truest understanding of events. Hersh cannot provide a final recounting of this complex crisis. But he does show how one critical thinker can provide a more believable reconstruction of events than can any self-interested governmental regime.Charles DeBenedetti, History Dept., Univ of Toledo, Ohio
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
Hersh's book is an excellent primer on the U.S. intelligence community. (In fact, I recently read it for an intelligence class at American University taught by the genial and wise Professor John Macartney.) Hersh, through hundreds of interviews with people involved with the U.S. response to the KAL007 shootdown, pieces together a workable theory about why the Soviets would shoot down the plane. And most of his thesis was redeemed when the Russians finally handed over the black box from the plane after the collapse of the U.S.S.R. The book presents complex ideas clearly, and no matter what else you think of Hersh's writing or his politics, you will find this book valuable.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a book about the selective use - and misuse - of intelligence information.
On Sept. 1 1983, a Soviet fighter pilot was ordered to shoot down Korean Airlines Flight 007, even though the pilot argued with his superiors and repeatedly identified the plane as a civilian plane. Breaking with usual intelligence policies, the Reagan administration released the recorded conversation between the fighter pilot and ground control to news media and the world.
This breach was made for political reasons. The impression this was intended to create was that it was standard Soviet policy to shoot down civilian airliners. This jeopardized our future intelligence-gathering capabilities, because it gave away to the Soviets just how sophisticated our intelligence-gathering was, and the extent to which Norway was providing us with info.
Many U.S. intelligence officers were dismayed by the way this was done, because the Reagan administration also withheld all information about the intense U.S. military activity that was being conducted in the area with reconfigured civilian aircraft. For the past several years, the U.S. had been routinely flying specially-configured Boeing 707s equipped with electronic communications surveillance equipment over the Barents sea and other areas that KAL flew over. In fact, a Cobra Ball surveillance plane was in the air to the south of the KAL flight path the same day. George Schultz made sure Cobra Ball was safely in its hangar before they made any announcements about the shootdown of a civilian plane.
The U.S. had also performed massive military maneuvers with three carriers and 23,000 personnell just off Soviet Far Eastern waters six months earlier (in March of 1983), and six U.S. fighter jets overflew Soviet airspace during these exercises.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a book about the selective use - and misuse - of intelligence information.
On Sept. 1 1983, a Soviet fighter pilot was ordered to shoot down Korean Airlines Flight 007, even though the pilot argued with his superiors and repeatedly identified the plane as a civilian plane. Breaking with usual intelligence policies, the Reagan administration released the recorded conversation between the fighter pilot and ground control to news media and the world.
This breach was made for political reasons. The impression this was intended to create was that it was standard Soviet policy to shoot down civilian airliners. This jeopardized our future intelligence-gathering capabilities, because it gave away to the Soviets just how sophisticated our intelligence-gathering was, and the extent to which Norway was providing us with info.
Many U.S. intelligence officers were dismayed by the way this was done, because the Reagan administration also withheld all information about the intense U.S. military activity that was being conducted in the area with reconfigured civilian aircraft. For the past several years, the U.S. had been routinely flying specially-configured Boeing 707s equipped with electronic communications surveillance equipment over the Barents sea and other areas that KAL flew over. In fact, a Cobra Ball surveillance plane was in the air to the south of the KAL flight path the same day. George Schultz made sure Cobra Ball was safely in its hangar before they made any announcements about the shootdown of a civilian plane.
The U.S. had also performed massive military maneuvers with three carriers and 23,000 personnell just off Soviet Far Eastern waters six months earlier (in March of 1983), and six U.S. fighter jets overflew Soviet airspace during these exercises.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel B. Jackson on August 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Seymour Hersh did an excellent job investigating, down to the Air Force
people sitting at their racks and their "nicknames". Can't wait to read another one of his books.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John G. Hilliard on April 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Wow, some of the things that took place in the cold war were catastrophes. The difference between this incident and the American shoot down of the Iranian plane is that this was done on purpose it would seam. I think if you would read more about this era you would find that the USSR did finally discipline the Commanders that made this mistake, but in typical Soviet style they did it in secret thus eliminating any public good will they may have gained. I think the biggest error made by the Regan administration is that they did not immediately release the tape, which one could argue that the gathering of the information may have lead to the 007 shoot down. The book is an enjoyable read that moves fast.
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