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Navy Man Loses Laser Lawsuit

October 21, 2002

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SEATTLE (AP) _ A federal jury has rejected a Navy intelligence officer’s claim that he was permanently injured by a laser fired from a Russian cargo ship spying on Puget Sound military installations.

The eight-day trial involved allegations of espionage, secret weapons and a government cover-up. But the jury was only asked to decide if the Russian ship, Kapitan Man, fired a laser at Lt. Cmdr. Jack Daly as he flew overhead during a 1997 surveillance mission.

Daly, 43, sought $25 million in damages from the owner of the ship, claiming his retinas were damaged by the laser. He plans to appeal Friday’s verdict.

Daly contends he was a victim not only of a laser attack but of a cover-up by the Navy and the Clinton administration.

Daly said was sent aboard a Canadian military helicopter to photograph the Kapitan Man as it sailed through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. He said he noticed bright flashes, and he and the Canadian pilot began to experience pain hours later.

A medical expert for the ship owner, Far Eastern Shipping Co., said Daly’s maladies were not consistent with a laser injury.

``This is very gratifying,″ said attorney Marc Warner, who represented the company.

The company, based in Vladivostok, Russia, and partly owned by the Russian government, has maintained that its ship never carried a laser. Military searches and investigations produced no evidence of a laser.

But Terrence Kessler, a former Pentagon laser expert, testified that a magenta spot on photographs taken from the helicopter indicated a possible laser. He said the State Department warned the Kapitan Man’s crew of a Coast Guard search in plenty of time for the crew to discard a laser.

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