PENTAGON SUED FOR POW/MIA FILES
A group of family members of service members who went missing during the Korean War and Cold War is suing the Pentagon over documents that could shed light on the fate of missing military personnel.
The National Security Agency recently denied a request from POW researcher Mark Sauter for 14 documents that — despite being more than 60 years old — are being kept classified at both the Secret and Top Secret level.
Other recent classified documents also have been withheld that could shed light on the potential survival of prisoners of war from the Korean War and Cold War.
The Pentagon’s Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, the lead unit for resolving missing personnel cases, remains without a director after the office’s chief, Michael Linnington, quit in June 2016.
Russia has refused to release files from the KGB political police and intelligence service and the GRU military intelligence services on U.S. POWs held there. China as well has failed to supply files on Americans held by Beijing and known to be alive but never returned
— after the Pentagon paid China more than $100,000 for POW/MIA files that were never turned over.
The family members also are demanding that President Trump and Congress pressure both Moscow and Beijing to help resolve the cases of missing service members, the group said in a press release.
“We’ve run out of patience and we’re running out of time,” said Bob Moore, whose brother, Capt. Harry Moore, was shot down over North Korea in 1951 and apparently taken to the then-Soviet Union with other American aviators.
Data on Harry Moore was disclosed in declassified U.S. intelligence records and former Soviet officials.
“We’re asking our elected representatives to stand up for military families who’ve sacrificed so much for our country,” Bob Moore said.
Washington lawyer Mark S. Zaid, who has specialized in classified information matters, is representing the families.
“It is astonishing the U.S. government is still keeping information classified on these lost heroes, from intelligence documents withheld as Top Secret just this year to operational files from the 1950s,” said Mr. Zaid, said. “We hope this lawsuit will help compel the Trump administration to finally bring these men home.”
The groups are supported by POW activist groups; the Coalition of Families of Korean & Cold War POW/MIAs; the Korea-Cold War Families of the Missing, Inc.; and the National Alliance of Families. Members of the groups are in Washington for an annual briefing from Pentagon officials.
The lawsuit is seeking the declassification of files held by the Pentagon, State Department, Air Force, NSA, CIA and National Archives.
“We want the American government to show the same faith to our missing loved ones that they showed to the U.S. government during their service,” said Pat Dickinson, brother of Jack Dickinson who went missing with fellow crewmen when the aircraft they were flying in was shot down by the Soviets.
“There may not be much chance our loved ones are still alive, but there remains hope we can still find out what really happened to them,” she said.
A Pentagon spokeswoman had no immediate comment.