Reagan Awakened at 2:53 a.m., Hour After Downing

From Associated Press

President Reagan was awakened about an hour after today’s downing of two Libyan jet fighters by U.S. Navy planes over the Mediterranean Sea, in contrast to a similar incident in 1981 when he was not told for more than six hours.

White House spokesman Roman Popadiuk said Reagan, vacationing at his new Bel-Air home, was informed of the incident by National Security Adviser Colin L. Powell at 2:53 a.m.

Popadiuk said Powell telephoned the President from Washington after conferring with White House Chief of Staff Kenneth N. Duberstein.


He said he had no information on Reagan’s reaction.

In the earlier incident in August, 1981, seven months after Reagan took office, his aides were sharply criticized for allowing him to sleep after they knew of the downing of two Libyan planes.

In that instance, Reagan was also in Los Angeles, staying in a $750-a-day suite at the Century Plaza Hotel, when then-presidential counselor Edwin Meese III informed him.