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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04DJIBOUTI721 2004-05-19 14:13:00 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Djibouti
Cable title:  

REPORT OF CRASH IN DJIBOUTI OF U.S. UNMANNED

Tags:   PREL MARR MOPS FR DJ 
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					S E C R E T DJIBOUTI 000721 

SIPDIS

NOFORN

STATE FOR AF DAS DON YAMAMOTO FROM AMBASSADOR
CENTCOM PASS SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMANDER DOUG BROWN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/19/2014
TAGS: PREL MARR MOPS FR DJ
SUBJECT: REPORT OF CRASH IN DJIBOUTI OF U.S. UNMANNED
AERIAL VEHICLE


Classified By: AMBASSADOR MARGUERITA D. RAGSDALE.
REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D).



1. (S) Commanding General of French Forces in Djibouti,
Gerard Pons, told me during my regular weekly meeting with
him on May 19 that he had been informed three days earlier,
through a private Djiboutian citizen, of the crash in
Djibouti "last week" of a U.S. small unmanned aerial vehicle
(UAV). The crash occurred, according to Pons, close to the
town of Damerdjog, located between Djibouti's international
airport and the town of Loyada near the Somali border. Pons
expressed displeasure that the flight had occurred without
his having been informed of it. He said that while he does
not ask the U.S. about the purpose of its UAVs, he does ask
that the U.S. extend the courtesy of at least informing of an
intent to conduct such an operation. He stated that flying a
UAV of this type, near an international airport used by the
French military, without advance notice, could be especially
dangerous for helicopters. I and USLO Chief, who accompanied
me in the meeting, reassured General Pons that we were not
aware of any U.S. UAVs being operated in Djibouti, but
promised to look immediately into the matter.



2. (S) USLO Chief conducted an initial investigation just
after with Joint Special Operations Task Force (JSOTF)
personnel at Camp Lemonier. He was told that JSOTF had
indeed operated a UAV, that it was carrying a camera device,
and that it had crashed. At this time it is still unknown
where the crash occurred. The incident had taken place, JSOTF
stated, about a week prior. (Note: Further inquiries with
JSOTF revealed that the operation may actually have occurred
in April. We cannot at this point confirm.) According to
information provided by JSOTF, debris from the UAV was
subsequently retrieved by private Djiboutian nationals from
the village of Damerdjog, who then approached the Camp
offering to return the debris. (Note: It is unclear how the
nationals identified the UAV as originating from the Camp.
End note) It is understood that JSOTF paid a sum of money to
the Djiboutian nationals for the debris. We also understand
that JSOTF is doing (or has already done) its own internal
investigation to determine who may have launched the UAV and
other material information associated with this incident. We
have a secondary report that the UAV flight was a test run
that failed.



3. (S) COMMENT: I am deeply concerned that a UAV operation
-- test or otherwise -- was launched in Djibouti without
advance notice to me or appropriate members of my Country
Team, to the Government of Djibouti, or to the Commanding
General of French Forces, whose units operate in the vicinity
of Djibouti's civilian airport and the border with Somalia.
I have requested a meeting with the JSOTF Commander at Camp
Lemonier for further details and will also raise this with
General Robeson, the CJTF-HOA Commander. We are concerned,
of course, about potential fallout from the Government of
Djibouti, although it has not lodged a formal protest as of
this date. That still may come as word gets out in this small
community. In addition, the lack of notice could very well
have caused an incident involving aircraft operating in the
region, for which the U.S. could very well have been held
accountable. End Comment.
RAGSDALE