RealNews

Unlike in Afghanistan, U.S. unconcerned about Iraq satellite images

At 10:30 most mornings, a private commercial satellite floats over Iraq, snapping pictures available for purchase by anyone not on a U.S. government watch list. The detailed images can pinpoint U.S. military forces in Iraq and surrounding states. But the U.S. military doesn’t seem worried that Saddam Hussein – or a terrorist group – might acquire such images. “If he wanted it and was prepared to pay top dollar, he would get it,” said John Pike, a military analyst with GlobalSecurity.org. “But precision intelligence isn’t going to do you any good in the absence of precision weapons.” During three months of war in Afghanistan last year, the Pentagon paid for exclusive access to images from the Ikonos satellite owned by Space Imaging, of Thornton, Colo. A second satellite with even higher resolution, QuickBird, has since been launched by Digital Globe of Longmont, Colo. But for the Iraq war, the Pentagon has left the two U.S. companies free to sell their images to all comers – except representatives from countries blacklisted by the State Department. French, Indian and Israeli companies also sell satellite imagery, none as sharp as what the U.S competitors offer. Full Story

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