Blaming Men, Not Machines

"Human error" will take the rap for the Iran Air shootdown

Navy brass had feared for weeks that the tragedy of Iran Air 655 would claim another victim: the controversial Aegis system aboard the U.S.S. Vincennes. How could that complex network of radar and computers have mistaken a civilian airliner for an attacking fighter plane? But when the fragmentary results of Rear Admiral William Fogarty's investigation leaked last week, blame fell not on the machines but on the men who were operating them. Under the pressure of combat, Pentagon sources say, the overwrought sailors on the Vincennes misread the radar data about the oncoming Airbus and passed faulty information to Captain Will...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!