Sequels: Backing Down on Flight 007

Ever since a Soviet fighter plane shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007 in September 1983, there have been numerous theories about the events that led to the attack. One explanation appeared last June in the British magazine Defence Attaché. According to the anonymous author, the U.S. accidentally triggered the tragedy by using the airliner to gather intelligence about Soviet air defenses. The plane, the writer contended, intentionally flew over Soviet territory in order to test the country's reflexes as the space shuttle Challenger and a U.S. Ferret-D electronic data-gathering satellite observed from above.

The article provoked a good deal of...

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