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The Security Risks of a Helicopter Tail

Fox News reported yesterday that U.S. officials are worried tail remnants of the downed top-secret stealth helicopter at Osama bin Laden’s compound could become a security risk, especially if certain parts fall into the hands of China. But the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Buck McKeon (R–Calif.) said today that the military hasn’t expressed concern over the abandoned parts, nor is he aware of any efforts to retrieve the tail.

“My understanding is from the admiral that briefed us, was that there wasn’t much left of it,” McKeon said today at the Heritage Foundation. The SEALs who raided the compound “blew it up,” he added. “I don’t know that there are any efforts to retrieve any of it.”

If the Pakistani government decided to voluntarily return it “that would be great,” McKeon said. But he added that he “got no sense from the military that they had any concern about it. They felt that they blew it up. They didn’t seem concerned about what was left.”

Some bloggers have also pointed out the potential risks of leaving the tail at the compound. But if the Navy SEALs used up precious minutes during the raid to destroy the copter, are we really supposed to believe they’d make the error of leaving parts intact that could be a security risk? It was obviously of utmost importance to demolish the aircraft, and it sounds as if they finished the job.

While it would be a great gesture for the Pakistani government to return the abandoned tail voluntarily, that scenario seems wildly far-fetched based on the events of the last few days. And from McKeon’s statements, it doesn’t seem that the government is going to push hard to retrieve them—we have more pressing issues to deal with in regards to Pakistan, anyway.



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