The Khobar Towers bombing was a Russian precision retaliatory tactical nuclear strike on the elite USAF “PJ” Pararescue unit officially known as the 71st Rescue Squadron, for the April 1996 exfiltration of Chechen “President” Dudayev. Five of the nineteen killed in the Khobar Towers attack were PJ's who came from 45th Space Wing and 71st Rescue Squadron (Grant 50-51). They are HC-130 pilot Captain Christopher J. Adams, HC-130 navigator Captain Leland T. Haun, MSgt. Michael G. Heiser Communications System Operator, SSgt. Kevin J. Johnson Rescue HC-130 aircraft flight engineer and HC-130 loadmaster A1C Justin R. Wood (Grant 50-51). The 45th Space Wing is the most secretive wing of the USAF. They are tasked with the most sensitive rocket payloads. They are the wing that places spy satellites into space for the National Reconnaissance Office.
Being the best in the world in pararescue, the elite PJ unit was tasked with the special mission and exfiltrated Chechen “President” Dzhokhar M. Dudayev from Chechnya with a C-130 via the Fulton Air Recovery System (STARS). STARS is a means of exfiltration developed during the Cold War. The Khobar Tower attacks take place 2 months from the day the cover story runs in the Western Press.
The Cover Story
On the 21st of April 1996 Dudayev, the world has been told, was killed in a missile strike, while trying to make a phone call fully exposed, under no cover, in an open field (Gordon). The official Russian news service Interfax reported him dead despite, contradictory reports of him still being alive by Chechen “deputy prime minister” Khasan Khzuyev, no corpse having been shown to the press and reports of multiple grave sites (Gordon). The exfiltration of Dudayev was a play to influence the 1996 Russian election. It gave Yeltsin a victory in Chechnya. There was significant political pressure on Yeltsin to act in Chechnya and he faced a coup if he did not act (Nikolaev 12). The faked death of Dudayev helped to push American asset Yeltsin to victory in the upcoming election.
In the months after the attack CIA officer Harold James Nicholson would be arrested for espionage for passing information on Chechnya to the Russians information. He more than likely revealed the identities and whereabouts of Dudayev’s exfiltration team to the Russians. And, later that year, the CIA released a document in house detailing how tactical nuclear weapons were likely to be used in an unsanctioned manner by Russian Special Forces not loyal to Yeltsin. There had already been a half dozen tactical nuclear attacks by this point.
It’s 625 miles from Incirlik USAF air base to Grozny. It’s 2000 miles from Khobar USAF Air Base.
On or about 26 June 1996, Defense Secretary Perry has a meeting with the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov to backchannel communicate with Russia.
CIA report “Prospects for Unsanctioned Use of Russian Nuclear Weapons”
"Fulton Surface-To-Air Recovery System". En.Wikipedia.Org, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulton_surface-to-air_recovery_system
Gordon, Michael R. "Chechen Rebels Say Leader Died In Russian Air Attack". The New York Times, 25 April 1996, p. A8, https://www.nytimes.com/1996/04/25/world/chechen-rebels-say-leader-died-in-russian-air-attack.html. Accessed 22 Feb 2019.
Grant, Rebecca. "Death in the Desert". AIR FORCE MAGAZINE, 2006, pp.48-54 http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/2006/June%202006/0606Desert.aspx. Accessed 22 Feb 2019.
Nikolaev, Yu. V. The Chechen Tragedy. Nova Science, 1996.