The deliberate destruction of Korean Airlines flight 007 from New York to Seoul, South Korea, on 31 August 1983 by a Soviet fighter killed all 269 passengers and crew aboard. The Boeing jumbo jet was attacked in Soviet airspace over Sakhalin Island and was hundreds of miles off course, the incorrect data having been entered into its navigational system. The radio traffic generated as the Soviet interceptors were vectored by their ground control toward their target was intercepted by a National Security Agency station in Japan and an American signals intelligence reconnaissance aircraft flying in the vicinity.
Once news emerged in September 1983 that the airliner had been lost, the Kremlin quickly issued a denial that it had been shot down, only to admit soon afterward that a Soviet fighter had indeed been responsible for firing a missile at the intruder. The Kremlin conspired for 10 years to conceal the fact that the “black box” flight data recorder of KAL 007 had been recovered successfully from the Sea of Okhotsk. The cockpit voice and digital recorders were not surrendered to the International Civil Aviation Organization until January 1993, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.