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Release Number 990516-2

 May 16, 1999

Media Contact:
Jennifer Lafley (301) 227-3096
Eric Berryman (301) 227-7397  

Chinese Embassy Bombing

The Department of Defense and Intelligence Community have started a systematic review of how the accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy happened, and why. The National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) is participating in this review as an integral part of the Intelligence Community and as a key combat support agency for the Department of Defense. The Community is focused on identifying and taking immediate corrective actions in any areas where appropriate.

Although the review is still in its early stages, what is apparent is that targeting is a complex process that requires a collaborative analysis of multiple defense and intelligence information sources. A hardcopy map is neither intended, nor used, as the sole source for target identification and approval. What are relied upon for target nomination and approval are a variety of collection sources and automated databases that are compiled from all-source intelligence and operational information. Similarly, maps are not the sole information source for aeronautical or nautical information. They are designed to be supplemented by periodic currency updates such as Flight Information Publications and Notice to Mariners, weather information, and situational updates by military commanders.

NIMA's customers have immense trust and confidence in NIMA products and information. NIMA is dedicated to providing timely, accurate, and relevant information to the men and women who rely on NIMA products and information everyday to do their mission. Whether they are a State Department Foreign Service Officer, intelligence analyst, soldier, Marine, sailor, or airman, they know they can count on the timeliness, accuracy and caring that NIMA dedicates to everything we do.

Recent news reports regarding the accuracy of NIMA maps have been inaccurate or incomplete. Due to the ongoing investigation of the embassy bombing incident, NIMA is not addressing specific questions at this time. Questions regarding past land, air or sea military accidents should be referred to the appropriate investigating authority.