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2002 News

Scott Speicher: Dead or alive?



Navy Still Thinks Gulf War Pilot Captured
Tue Mar 2,10:37 AM ET

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

WASHINGTON - Nearly a year after the fall of Baghdad, the Navy has yet to find evidence to change its position that F-18 fighter pilot Michael Scott Speicher, shot down on the opening night of the 1991 Gulf War (news - web sites), was at one time in Iraqi captivity, the Navy's top admiral said Tuesday.

Iraq (news - web sites) has maintained all along that Speicher was killed in the crash. The Navy, which has changed its position on Speicher's status over the years, lists him as "missing-captured.".....




End in sight to riddle of missing US airman
Military officials confident they will discover fate of pilot lost in 1991 war

Lawrence Donegan in San Francisco
Sunday April 6, 2003
The Observer

As endgames of this Gulf war are played out, there are hopes that the advance into the heart of the Iraqi capital will also bring an end to one of the enduring intrigues of the previous conflict - the whereabouts of US airman Michael Scott Speicher.

In 1991 Lieutenant Commander Speicher from Jackson, Florida, was part of the first air mission over Iraq. The F-18 fighter pilot took off from the deck off the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga on 16 January - and flew into a 12-year mystery......


 Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2002 

Navy Changes Gulf War Pilot Status

By Matt Kelly

.c The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Navy has changed the status of Gulf War pilot Scott Speicher from missing in action to missing-captured, Sen. Pat Roberts said Friday.

A defense official confirmed that Navy Secretary Gordon England had approved the change in status, which had been in the works for months.......


                      Pilot believed alive, held in Iraq 

                      By Bill Gertz
                      THE WASHINGTON TIMES

U.S. intelligence agencies have obtained new information indicating Iraq is holding captive a U.S. Navy pilot shot down during the Persian Gulf war, The Washington Times has learned. 

British intelligence provided the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) with the new information several months ago, and intelligence officials said it could assist in the ongoing investigation into the fate of Navy  Lt. Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher.......

From: Lynn O'Shea []
Sent: Monday, March 11, 2002 11:53 AM
To: Recipient list suppressed
Subject: Cmdr Michael Scott Speicher

National Alliance of Families
For The Return of America's Missing Servicemen
World War II - Korea - Cold War - Vietnam - Gulf War

Dolores Alfond - 425-881-1499
Lynn O'Shea --- 718-846-4350
Web Site
email --

Here are two important stories.  The above article is from the Washington Times regarding Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher.  The second article from contains the Pentagon debunking.


Before the ink was dry on this story the debunking began.... - U.S. officials downplay report on Navy pilot in Iraq - March 11, 2002

March 11, 2002 Posted: 8:10 AM EST (1310 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. officials Monday downplayed a published report that a U.S. Navy pilot thought to have been killed in action during the Persian Gulf War might be alive and held in Iraq.

The report in Monday's Washington Times said U.S. intelligence agencies had received new information about Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher. Navy Secretary Richard Danzig last year changed Speicher's status from Killed in Action/Body not Recovered to Missing in Action. But one U.S. official said Monday, "If Scott Speicher were still alive, Saddam Hussein would have brought him out for propaganda."

Another official said, "This story has been out once or twice already."  The official said he had no knowledge of any recent information to support the idea, including and beyond the time span the newspaper cited.

Speicher's F/A-18 aircraft was shot down by enemy fire on January 17, 1991, the first day of the air war over Iraq. He was placed on MIA status  the next day.

On May 22, 1991, following a secretary of the Navy status review board  that found "no credible evidence" to suggest he had survived, his status  was changed to Killed in Action/Body not Recovered.

In December 1995, working through the International Committee of the Red Coss, investigators from the Navy and Army's Central Identification Laboratory entered Iraq and conducted a thorough excavation of the
crash site.

In September 1996, based on a comprehensive review of evidence accumulated since the initial determination, the secretary of the Navy reaffirmed the presumptive finding of death.

But over the years since that determination was made, the Navy and the U.S. government consistently have sought new details and continued to analyze all available information to resolve Speicher's fate.  This additional
analysis, when added to the information considered in 1996, underscored the need for a new review.

Based on the review, Danzig concluded that Speicher's status should be MIA, and the change was made in January 2001.

Iraqi says gulf war U.S. pilot is alive 
U.S. agents seek evidence to verify defector's claims

By Christine Spolar
Tribune foreign correspondent

March 12, 2002

WASHINGTON -- .....New evidence about the Navy pilot, Michael Scott Speicher, surfaced in late January. President Bush and top advisers in the State and Defense Departments were informed by intelligence agents that a one-time high-ranking military adviser to Hussein, who defected earlier this year, has information that the American pilot was alive as of January.....

Speicher, a lieutenant commander at the time of the war, has been promoted to commander in the past year, and, more recently, to captain......

Copyright (c) 2002, Chicago Tribune

March 12, 2002

Senator suspects pilot alive in Iraq
By Bill Gertz

A  member of the Senate Intelligence Committee said yesterday he suspects a Navy pilot shot down over Iraq in 1991 is alive and being  held captive as the State Department said Baghdad has ignored U.S.  requests for information about the pilot's fate.

Sen. Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican, said in an interview that he has asked Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to classify Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher as a prisoner of war, instead of missing in action. The Pentagon changed Cmdr. Speicher's status last year from killed to missing in action.......

 National Alliance of Families
 For The Return of America's Missing Servicemen
 World War II - Korea - Cold War - Vietnam - Gulf War
 Dolores Alfond - 425-881-1499
 Lynn O'Shea --- 718-846-4350
 Web Site
 email --
 March 16, 2002
 Is Gulf War MIA, Navy Capt. Michael Scott Speicher, Alive In Iraq?
 Source Reports Say YES!
 Was Navy Seal Neil Roberts Captured and Executed By Al Qaeda?
 Maj. Gen. Frank Hagenbeck says YES!
 U.S. Ambassador To Vietnam Calls
 Agent Orange "the One Significant Ghost" of the Vietnam War.
 He's got to be kidding!!!!!!!!!!
 All this and more, in this edition of Bits N Pieces.
Enough Is Enough - It's time to bring Navy Capt. Michael Scott Speicher  Home!  We all need to act immediately.  The National Alliance of Families  is declaring the week of March 17th - 23rd "Bring Scott Speicher Home  Week."  We ask that next week everyone who reads this makes a call to  the  White House at 202-456-1414 and demand that Gulf War POW/MIA Scott  Speicher be brought home!   This newsletter reaches an enormous  number of  individuals either by direct email, forwarded email or fax.  We should be  able to generate a tremendous amount of calls and if we can't, well shame  on us.
We need, NO, Scott Speicher needs every one of you to make that call.  We  must keep the pressure on.  This can't wait until the next group,  post or  chapter meeting, the leadership of every organization must get on the phone  to their membership and make sure each member makes a call.  If alive, and  the evidence sure points that way, Speicher has waited 11 years, to come home.  He can't wait for the next group meeting to pass on this information.
Make your call and demand that the Bush Administration, by whatever  means,  bring Scott Speicher home, now!  We've issued the challenge to make that call.   If the White House is flooded with calls, they will know Scott Speicher is #1 priority.   If only  a few of us make the calls, that will tell them the Scott Speicher and all  other POWs and MIAs are really not a priority.   We need to send a  message.   That message will be measured in the number of calls made or not  made.  Don't let this opportunity pass..... please make your calls.
 Here's why we need to act now!
 Speicher Reported Alive As Recently As January 2002  -- That's what one  source reported to foreign intelligence officials.  According to a  Washington Times article by Bill Gertz, who broke this story on March 12,  2002 - "U.S. intelligence agencies have obtained new information indicating  Iraq is holding captive a U.S. Navy pilot shot down during the Persian Gulf war, The Washington Times has learned."
 "British intelligence provided the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency  (DIA) with the new information several months ago, and intelligence  officials said it could assist in the ongoing investigation into the fate  of Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher...."
 "....According to U.S. intelligence officials, the British intelligence  information was based on an additional intelligence source; someone who had  been in Iraq and said he had learned that  an American pilot is being held  captive in Baghdad."
 "The British report stated further that only two Iraqis were permitted to  see the captive American pilot: the chief of Iraq's intelligence service,  and Uday Hussein, son of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, said the officials,  speaking on the condition of anonymity."
 "...One U.S. official said the new agent offered to identify the exact  location in Baghdad where the American is being held and also offered to obtain a photograph of the prisoner..."
 "...President Bush has been briefed on the new intelligence on Cmdr.  Speicher and the likelihood of an American POW in Baghdad is being factored into U.S. policy toward future operations against Iraq, the officials said."
 "...DIA spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Jim Brooks said the Speicher case is "an active investigation." The agency "investigates and continues to investigate all reports regarding the Speicher case." He declined to comment further on specific reports on the case...."
 "....Based on the defector report and pressure from Sen. Robert C. Smith, New Hampshire Republican, the Navy changed Cmdr. Speicher's status from killed in action to missing in action on Jan. 11, 2001..."
 "...Cmdr. Speicher was the pilot of a Navy F-18 jet that was shot down by enemy fire on Jan. 17, 1991, the first day of combat operations in the Gulf war.  Defense Secretary Richard B. Cheney said during a news  conference that same day that the pilot had been killed, and the Navy declared Cmdr. Speicher killed in action five months later..."
 "...The CIA also was told about the capture of an American pilot in the early 1990s but dismissed the information as coming from an unreliable agent, the officials said. The agency later acknowledged its dismissal was an error, U.S. officials said."
Of course the Pentagon made immediate moves to debunk this story.
According to an article posted on, dated March 11, 2002 the article titled "U.S. officials downplay report on Navy pilot in Iraq" states: "U.S. officials Monday downplayed a published report that a U.S. Navy pilot thought to have been killed in action during the Persian Gulf War might be alive and held in Iraq...."
"....But one U.S. official said Monday, "If Scott Speicher were still alive, Saddam Hussein would have brought him out for propaganda." Another official said, "This story has been out once or twice already." The official said he had no knowledge of any recent information to support the idea, including and beyond the time span the newspaper cited..."
 But the story wouldn't die.
 The March 13th edition of the Chicago Tribune carried an article by their Foreign Correspondent, Christine Spolar, stating: "WASHINGTON - ...New evidence about the Navy pilot, Michael Scott Speicher, surfaced in late January. President Bush and top advisers in the State and Defense Departments were informed by intelligence agents that a one-time high-ranking military adviser to Hussein, who defected earlier this year,  has information that the American pilot was alive as of January."
 "Speicher, who would be 44 today, was classified killed in action from 1991 until January 2001. The CIA, the Navy and President Clinton reviewed what were considered serious gaps in intelligence analysis concerning the Speicher case. On Jan. 10, 2001, based on evidence that the pilot survived the crash and was seen in Iraq, Speicher was reclassified as missing in action."
 "The Iraqi defector first spoke earlier this year to Dutch intelligence about an imprisoned American pilot in Iraq. According to sources, the defector told interrogators that the American pilot in prison was in good  health but walks with a limp and has facial scars.  The defector has been deemed credible through his descriptions of both Speicher, whom he did not name, and his knowledge of prisons where the pilot is thought to have been held, sources said...."
 "....Attempts to verify the defector's claims intensified in February, sources said. Public comments by the administration regarding Iraq sharpened  within the same week, including Powell's statement that the United States was weighing ways to topple Hussein."
 "The defector said the pilot had been held at Iraqi Intelligence Headquarters, the same building that the United States bombed in 1993 in retaliation for an assassination attempt on President George Bush, the father of the current president and the leader of the 1991 allied  coalition against Iraq."
 "The defector told intelligence agents that the pilot was moved to a military facility on Sept. 12, the day after Islamic terrorists hijacked American airliners and drilled them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The Iraqis feared reprisals from the United States and wanted to safeguard their captive, the defector told his interrogators. The defector said only a handful of Iraqis are aware of the pilot's existence, and that Hussein and his son, Qusay, closely monitor his well-being, sources said."

 "The case of Michael Scott Speicher appears to have a special resonance for the current administration. Bush's father led the allied force coalition in the gulf. Powell then was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Vice President Dick Cheney was secretary of defense."
 "Cheney's role is particularly sensitive because, during the first press briefing after the first strike in 1991, Cheney declared Speicher dead.  That announcement was both premature and problematic for the military,  which at the time was seeking information about the downing of Speicher's plane.  This is important to them," said one source knowledgeable about the White House interest in the case. "The people in charge then are the people in charge now....."
 "...The Speicher case continues to generate interest in the Senate, which has been conducting an investigation on intelligence lapses in the case. Sen.  Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), a member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee and the Armed Services Committee, wrote to the Pentagon in February that Speicher should be listed as a prisoner of war.
 Roberts said in his letter that changing the status would better reflect  unanswered questions about the "exceptional and compelling" case of the missing fighter pilot.  "If Capt. Speicher lives, we must make every effort to attain for him the freedom he has so long been denied. His case reaffirms to our nation,  albeit somewhat belatedly, that we will never abandon our soldiers even if some embarrassment falls to our government," Roberts wrote to Secretary of  Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
 In a seven-page declassified version of facts released last year, the CIA asserted that Speicher probably survived being shot down, and "if he survived, he was almost certainly captured by the Iraqis."  As a result of Speicher's reclassification to missing in action in January 2001, the United States sent a formal demarche to Iraq demanding information about him. [Read the full text of the Unclassified Intelligence Assessment at]
 Quickly the Pentagon back peddled stating they were looking very seriously at all reports.
 According to a March 13, 2002 Washington Times article by Bill Gertz  "The Pentagon called on Iraq yesterday to reveal what it knows about the fate of a missing U.S. Navy pilot shot down near Baghdad in 1991.  Spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said the Pentagon does not know whether Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher is a prisoner in Iraq but is working hard to find out what happened to him..."
 "....Asked if the Pentagon believes Cmdr. Speicher is alive, Mrs. Clarke said: "We believe he's MIA. That means you don't know.  "The only thing I can add to the conversation is, Iraq could be  more helpful, if it wanted to, in determining the fate," she said."
 "Sen. Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican, in a letter has asked  Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to change Cmdr. Speicher's missing status to prisoner of war (POW).   Mrs. Clarke did not answer directly when asked whether the   Pentagon will change Cmdr. Speicher's status to POW. "
 "Air Force Brig. Gen. John Rosa, deputy director of operations  for the Joint Staff, said yesterday the military's investigation  into Cmdr. Speicher's fate is a priority.  "This is a front-burner issue for us," Gen. Rosa said, in commenting on a report in yesterday's editions of The Washington  Times. "We take this very seriously."
 "A briefing was held last night for Sen. Robert C. Smith, New Hampshire Republican, who has been following the case closely for several years...."
 "Retired Army Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of U.S. forces during the Gulf war, said the fate of Cmdr. Speicher was never  raised in negotiations with the Iraqis at the end of the war.  "I was assured 100 percent that everyone was fully accounted  for and that there was no MIA situation," Gen. Schwarzkopf told the   Virginian-Pilot. "That was a major consideration in my mind, just based on the MIA situation in Vietnam."

 Patting Yourself On The Back For A Job Poorly Done - Shortly after Captain Speicher's status was changed from KIA/BNR to MIA, in January 2002,  Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) requested a  joint investigation, by the Inspectors General (IG),  of the CIA and Defense Department.  According to a press release issued by Senator Roberts on March 8, 2001, "the IG report gave a positive assessment of the U.S. intelligence community's performance in the Speicher case - saying its performance was `noteworthy.'"
 Roberts continued: "We found the self-congratulatory tone of the IG report to be at sharp variance from what the Intelligence Committee's own inquiry has indicated - and with the substantive assessment that the Director of Central Intelligence submitted to the Committee last fall."

 In the world of POW/MIA, agencies like CIA and DOD can investigate themselves, clear themselves and congratulate themselves for a job poorly done.   Only in the POW/MIA issue are agency performances rated "noteworthy" for ignoring intelligence information.
 Then again, they have been ignoring POW/MIA intelligence for years.   We must remind everyone, the very reasons cited for the change in Capt. Speicher's status, are the very same reasons used to declare Vietnam, Cold War and Korean War POW/MIA's dead.
While we are thrilled at the recent developments in the Speicher case, we can not help but comment on the double standard at work within DOD.

 When You Finish Your Call To White House   Call your Senators and demand passage of Senate Bill 1339  "To amend the Bring Them Home Alive Act of 2000 to provide an asylum program with regard to American Persian Gulf War POW/MIAs, and for other purposes."
 Among the bills provisions is to grant  "ELIGIBILITY- Refugee status shall be granted under subsection (a) to-
      `(1) any alien who-
     `(A) is a national of Iraq or a nation of the Greater Middle East Region (as determined by the Attorney General in consultation with the Secretary of State); and
     `(B) personally delivers into the custody of the United States Government a living American Persian Gulf War POW/MIA; and
     `(2) any parent, spouse, or child of an alien described in paragraph (1).
 "Any living American Persian Gulf War POW/MIA.... Folks that's Speicher.   IF you really want to be a part of the effort to bring Scott Speicher home.  Call your Senators at 202-224-3121 now.   You can find your Senators email address at
 We must pass this legislation NOW!
 Speicher wasn't the only POW abandoned by the U.S. government World War II - Korea - Cold War - Vietnam - Gulf War
 If your interested in this as a bumper sticker, let us know by email at   IF enough people are interested, we will have them made up for sale.
 Did You Notice - DPMO seems to be out of the picture when it comes to the Speicher case.

 Was Navy Seal Neil Roberts Captured and Executed By Al Qaeda - That was the
 original report by commanders on site. 

See the National Alliance of Families website for the ENTIRE newsletter.....

  U.S. pilot shot down in Gulf War reportedly seen in Baghdad in 1998

             Posted on Tue, Mar. 19, 2002

             U.S. pilot shot down in Gulf War reportedly seen in Baghdad in 1998
             Knight Ridder Newspapers

             WASHINGTON - (KRT) - Iraqi dissidents say that Lt. Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher, the former Kansas City, Mo., resident shot down and reported killed during the Gulf War in 1991, was seen alive as
recently as four years ago.

             A member of the London-based Iraqi National Congress, who asked to remain anonymous, said in an interview with The Kansas City Star that the group has information that Speicher was being held  prisoner by the Iraqi government and was last seen in 1998 at a military hospital near Baghdad.......           .

             2002, The Kansas City Star.
             Visit The Star Web edition on the World Wide Web at
             Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

Speicher case draws new focus, passion
Sunday, April 28, 2002 

Speicher case draws new focus, passion
Navy pilot shot down in Gulf War 
By Paul Pinkham 
Times_Union staff writer 

They've been here before, the family and friends that love Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher and the Jacksonville Navy community that calls him a hero.

Too many times.......


Times_Union staff writers Rachel Davis and Matthew I. Pinzur contributed to this report.
Staff writer Paul Pinkham can be reached at (904) 359_4107 or

Sunday, in Insight Magazine the magazine section of the Washington Times. 

Forgotten Flier Posted May 27, 2002
By Timothy W. Maier

A decade ago Lt. Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher was the forgotten man. The
33-year-old U.S. Navy pilot, whose friends called him "Spike," was shot
down in his F-18 Hornet over west-central Iraq on the first night of the
Persian Gulf War on Jan. 17, 1991. No heroic search-and-rescue missions
were launched. No one even asked what happened.

Until now.

Prompted by long-held secret intelligence and eyewitness reports that claim
Speicher survived the crash and was taken to a Baghdad hospital, Sen. Pat
Roberts (R-Kan.), a former Marine and senior member of the Senate Select
Intelligence Committee, fired off a stern letter in February to Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld requesting that Speicher be reclassified a
prisoner of war (POW). If granted, it would mark the second time Speicher's
status has been changed. In 1991 the Navy reclassified him from killed in
action (KIA) to missing in action (MIA). "I believe he is a POW," Roberts
tells Insight......



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