“The attack was a mistake. Let me emphasise our investigation has determined that no one, and I repeat, no one knowingly targeted the Chinese Embassy. Speculation to the contrary is simply unfounded. No one at any stage in the process realised that our bombs were aimed at the Chinese Embassy.”
CIA Director George Tenet
“We are very dependent on databases and the accuracy of those databases. And clearly, we didn’t have accurate databases here. I find it embarrassing that we didn’t have in our databases the precise location of the Chinese Embassy. And that did contribute to this failure where we didn’t catch the mistake and possibly could have. We know that now and we’re going to have to prevent that in the future.”
Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre
On May 7, 1999, during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia (Operation Allied Force), five US Joint Direct Attack Munition guided bombs hit the People’s Republic of China embassy in the Belgrade district of New Belgrade, killing three Chinese journalists. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
According to the U.S. government, the intention had been to bomb the nearby Yugoslav Federal Directorate for Supply and Procurement.
President Bill Clinton later apologized for the bombing, stating it was accidental.
On July 22 1999, Central Intelligence Agency director George Tenet testified before a congressional committee that the bombing was the only one in the campaign organized and directed by his agency, and that the CIA had identified the wrong coordinates for a Yugoslav military target on the same street.
The CIA explanation was hard to believe and China was having none of it. The Chinese government issued a statement on the day of the bombing, stating that it was a “barbarian act”.
CIA DIRECTOR TESTIFYS OVER BOMBING OF CHINESE BELGRADE EMBASSY
On This Day — USAF Bombs Chinese Embassy in Belgrade (May 7 1999)