Because the dangers and threats of a nuclear war is the concern of every citizen, the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) are of both domestic and international importance. While the conferences, accords, and summit meetings are given substantial coverage in the mass media, the public is little aware of what is really taking place. For example, in 1976, then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, with the collusion of the Central Intelligence Agency, was accused of manipulating intelligence estimates for use in SALT talk negotiations. According to Aviation Week, the integrity of the US-USSR weapons’ pacts was left in doubt when Kissinger directed the CIA to slant range estimates for the Soviet Union’s Tupolev Backfire variable geometry bomber. The CIA was ordered to provide McDonnell Douglas, the aerospace firm, with just enough intelligence data to formulate a 3,500 nautical mile range capability. A similar study by the Pentagon, using all available intelligence information, computed the bomber’s range at 6,000 nautical miles. This clearly puts the aircraft in the heavy bomber category that would be counted in the 2,400 strategic delivery vehicle limit set in the Ford-Breznhev Vladivostok agreement. Kissinger already had made a separate agreement with the Russians, conceding that the Backfire would not be considered in the heavy bomber category. The directive to the CIA was an,. attempt to fulfill his commitment. In response to Kissinger’s denial and request for a retraction and full apology, Aviation Week’s editor and publisher, Robert B. Hotz, responded: “(Aviation Week and Space Technology is a responsible publication; verified the facts contained in the original story (AW&ST Sept. 13, p. 13); offers no apology and no retraction.–R.B.H.).” The lack of coverage revealing the real negotiations being conducted qualifies this story for nomination as one of the “best censored” stories of 1976.
SOURCE: Robert B. Hotz, Editor and Publisher
Aviation Week and Space Technology, 9/13/76, p 13. Aviation Week and Space Technology, 9/27/76, P 70.