discovered that anyone can tune in live to U.S. spy plane photo

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Doglips, Jun 13, 2002.

  1. Doglips

    Doglips Guest

    Open Transmissions
    British Satellite Enthusiast Watches
    NATO Spy Plane Video

    By Paul Majendie
    L O N D O N , June 13 — A British satellite enthusiast has discovered that anyone can tune in live to U.S. spy plane photo transmissions over the Balkans.
    John Locker said the freely available pictures by both manned spy planes and drones can pinpoint a location to within six feet.
    "It's frightening — I am amazed," he told Reuters today. "Even before Sept. 11, this is not the sort of stuff that should be shown openly."

    Locker said he had spent the last seven months alerting NATO and U.S. military commanders about the free availability of the pictures but just met with the answer, "So what?"

    NATO said it was not concerned about any possible security breaches but American officials said plans were in hand to encrypt the data.

    Locker, who picked up the broadcast from the Telstar satellite over Brazil at home on his satellite dish, stressed he was not tapping into anything.

    "This is not an intercept," he said. "I am not a hacker — this is free-to-air programming.

    "I would question if this could put troops at risk on the ground. Those pictures are within real time of three seconds," he said. "It is just stunning."

    He said pictures he has seen covered military exercises on the ground in Macedonia and further north in the Sarajevo area in Bosnia.

    Clearly visible were troops on the ground, armored personnel carriers and a helicopter whizzing underneath the camera.

    Afghan Stretch?

    Viewers tuning into the satellite this week were reported to have been able to watch a security alert around the U.S. Army's headquarters at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo.

    Last week, the spy plane provided airborne surveillance for a heavily protected patrol on the Macedonian-Kosovo border near Skopje.

    Locker said: "What I suspect is that they are using military satellite capacity for Afghanistan as their top priority. As that capacity runs out, they may be using a commercial satellite as a backup."

    Locker is a freelance journalist who writes for satellite communications magazines.

    "We can see dozens of satellites in the sky," he said. "This just happened to pop up on one of the satellites last November. It appeared to me to be of military origin."

    The pictures have been broadcast through a satellite over Brazil. Clips from the feed, which are not encrypted, have been transmitted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists on its Web site,

    Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, told the BBC plans were now in hand to encrypt the data.

    "We have discovered in the period since Sept. 11 how important this sort of real-time intelligence is," he said. "Now we are making much better use of this kind of information and it will make sense to encrypt it in the future.

    "There are plans to encrypt this data," he added.

    Asked to comment on the broadcasts, a NATO spokesman in Brussels, Belgium, told Reuters: "This is a U.S. issue. We are aware of it but it is not new.

    "It was a decision made by the United States to treat this imagery as unclassified material and to put it on a commercial satellite …: This is a decision they made and we are content that they are following appropriate levels of security," the spokesman said.

    Maj. Bill Bigelow, a spokesman for the U.S. European Command in Germany, said the images did not constitute intelligence.

    "Raw information such as that video does not mean intelligence," he said. "Intelligence means analysis of data that comes from many different sources."

    Copyright 2002 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  2. Chris

    Chris G&G Evangelist Staff Member Forum Contributor

    wow, I feel safe. I bet our boys in Afgahn do to.

  3. Calvin

    Calvin G&G Evangelist

    Now I know where CNN gets their feed from........