This has been done before: the 1994 Mull of Kintyre Chinook crash. It's a favourite for silencing
large groups of sensitvie people (much like the Polish Presidential plane crash in Russia)
There are protocols that high value assets should not travel in a single convoy making them
an easy target or unacceptable loss to the military.
This was an inside job, Taliban have a poor record of taking down aircraft in Afghanistan
101 (17 to hostile fire).
But dark rumours abound. The loss of ten senior RUC intelligence officers, nine army intelligence officers and six MI5 officers on the eve of the 1994
IRA cessation was, for some, propitious.
"The loss of such senior intelligence personalities probably ensured the political case for a peace process to go ahead despite the recent successes
against PIRA [Provisional IRA] and loyalist paramilitaries," wrote academic Sydney Elliott in the most recent edition of the Northern Ireland
The diaries on one of the RUC officers killed in the crash, Ian Phoenix, were published in 1996, and showed the mindset of a dedicated anti-terrorist
operator who believed that the IRA could be militarily defeated, if the authorities let them "do their job".
Some of those killed were certainly involved in contentious episodes, such as the "Shoot to Kill" operations on the early 80s, in which six alleged
republicans were shot dead in circumstances which themselves have been the subject of call for a new inquiry.
Some loyalists believe that the intelligence officers were deliberately "taken out" for "knowing too much" about the people the government would
have to deal with in a post-conflict Ulster.