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NPR News – All Things Considered – August 18, 1981 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Another day and more saber rattling in the Mediterranean. This time a dogfight between Libyan jets and 2 U.S.Navy F-14 jets over disputed territorial waters just outside of Libya. The Naval aircraft reported being fired on by the Libyan jets. According to reports, the F-14’s took evasive action and downed the two Libyan jets.
And then the story got complicated. Libya claimed to have shot down at least one F-14 because the fighters were provoking a dogfight. They blamed the U.S. for staging military exercises too close to Libyan territory and they ventured into Libyan airspace. The U.S denied it, saying they were far enough out in the Mediterranean and that the Libyans were looking for a confrontation as a way of shoring up the sagging popularity of Muammar Gaddafi, but did admit their presence was intended to send a message to Libya that the U.S. was prepared to get into a shooting match if so inclined.
Based on reports, the incident wasn’t deemed important enough to wake President Reagan at 4:00 in the morning to tell him the news. And that aides waited until later in the morning to let him know what happened. Questions arose as to who gave the okay and why wasn’t the Commander-In-Chief notified. But the Defense Department quickly swept it under the rug saying the President didn’t need to be informed of everything all the time. Okay. . . .
Meanwhile, back in the States – the PATCO strike was continuing, with little in the way of progress. A Treasury Department report on the Assassination attempt on President Reagan gave high marks to the Secret Service and FBI, but said there needed to be increased domestic terrorism surveillance and more Secret Service agents assigned to the President. Marina Oswald-Porter, widow of alleged assassin of President Kennedy, filed a suit in Superior Court to have the grave of her husband, Lee Harvey Oswald dug up and the contents inspected because she believed his body had been stolen, or was never buried there in the first place.
And reports revealed the Economy was in a deeper slump than previously thought. So much for rosy pictures, Muammar Gaddafi and Air Traffic Controllers on this August 18th in 1981 as reported by National Public Radio News and All Things Considered.
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