Nato rejects mole allegations

Thursday, 9 March, 2000

Nato spokesman Jamie Shea has rejected allegations that a mole gave details of the alliance's bombing plans to Yugoslav authorities during last year's air campaign.
Mr Shea said there was "no proof, no evidence".
"It's speculative and that's all," he told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4.
He said top Nato officials knew nothing about an internal US military report into the alleged spying.
"The air campaign has been over now for the best part of a year, and surely if there really was damning evidence of a major compromise of Nato security, the people with the need to know in Nato would have heard about it by now," he said.
It was strange, Mr Shea suggested, that the US Air Force would have told a BBC journalist about the report, and not mentioned it to Nato in Brussels.
The Nato spokesman also said that if the Serbs had known the flight paths of alliance aircraft, more would have been shot down.
"If it were true that the Serbs had access to lots of juicy information about Nato's most secret operational planning and targetting, how is it that we were able to conduct, over 78 days, 38,000 sorties involving 1,200 aircraft, and not lose a single pilot and only have two aircraft shot down?
"Surely if they had had this information, they would have made better use of it."

Anti-aircraft fire
He denied that the poor record of the Serb anti-aircraft units could be put down only to the high altitude of the bombers, and the units' decision not to use the most sophisticated guns.
"They were taking a great deal of anti-aircraft fire every evening. If we lost fewer planes it wasn't because the Serbs weren't firing ... but because our pilots were extremely professonal at taking evasive action.
"Air defence is extremely effective at 15,000 feet, if it were true that the Serbs had all this information. I don't think they did have it, because otherwise I fail to believe that they wouldn't have put it to some use."
Mr Shea said the decision to restrict the distribution of air task orders from 600 to 100 people in the early days of the campaign was taken as part of "standard operating procedures", not because there was any suspicion of a leak.
He said the initial figure of 600 people with access to this information was not an "enormous number" given the size of the Nato alliance.
Nato had 19 members, he said, and diplomats and military officials from each country had to be kept informed.

Original article