Thursday, May 30, 2013

America's covert reconnaissance program using SR-71 and U-2 ...

Chinese cyber-threat hype is a ruse to engage China in a military showdown...Pentagon Cold Warriors try to resurrect the "good old days" by confronting China...Just as U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon was wrapping up his meetings with top Chinese officials in Beijing to set the stage for President Obama's June 7-8 summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Rancho Mirage, California, The Washington Post published from a leaked Confidential report prepared by the Defense Science Board claiming that Chinese cyber-spies have gained access to the technological secrets of America's most advanced weapon systems. The advisory board largely consists of retired flag rank military officers, the top corporate leadership of large contractors, and members of academia who collectively make up the "military-industrial complex," which President Dwight Eisenhower once warned the nation about...

It is clear that the "leak" of the report was authorized by the Obama administration and Attorney General Eric Holder will not be issuing warrants for the telephone records of the Post reporters who revealed the contents of the Chinese cyber-espionage report. In fact, Obama has attempted to turn up the heat on China as part of his strategic "pivot to Asia," the reassignment of much of America's air and naval forces to the Pacific theater.

It is also clear that Obama's love affair with drone technology will soon be turned toward China. Some of the old-timers on the Defense Science Board recall a time when the Pentagon and the CIA cooperated in sending unmanned drones on reconnaissance missions over China, North Vietnam, and North Korea and some of these nostalgic Cold War policy makers would like to see China and North Korea, once again, subjected to stealthy U.S. reconnaissance missions using state-of-the-art drone technology.

One of the secrets the CIA continues to maintain is the extent of

America's covert reconnaissance program using SR-71 and  U-2 manned reconnaissance aircraft, as well as unmanned drones, over China and other "denied territory" during the Cold War. Although spy satellites took over much of the surveillance coverage of China, some Pentagon brass would like to see the United States make more use of its sophisticated robotic and miniaturized drone capabilities against Chinese military and scientific research and development centers, where the prying lenses and sensitive electronic ears of spy satellites are difficult to reach.

As late as the mid-1970s, even after President Richard Nixon's landmark visit to China in 1972, the CIA and the Air Force and Navy were flying secret reconnaissance missions over China. From 1963, the CIA used Taiwanese pilots, trained to fly the U-2, to fly highly-classified CHURCH DOOR reconnaissance mis
sions over China. The Taiwanese pilots took off from Taoyuan, Taiwan and conducted surveillance of missile sites, radar bases, arsenals, airfields, aircraft and rocket manufacturing facilities, ports, submarine bases, oil refineries, and industrial plants.

Some of the Cold War low-altitude drone photo-reconnaissance missions targeting China, North Korea, and North Vietnam were the responsibility of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) and the Ryan/Teledyne "Firebee" drone operations were known by the cover names BLUE SPRINGS, BUMPY ACTION, LIGHTNING BUG, BUMBLE BUG, BUFFALO HUNTER, and BUFFALO ACTION. U-2 drone operations were code named LUCKY DRAGON, TROJAN HORSE, and GIANT DRAGON. B-52 aircraft launched supersonic drones in the 1960s that were known by the classified code word TAGBOARD and the unclassified cover name TIGER. The Firebee drones were classified under the Air Force's BIG SAFARI intelligence modification of aircraft project and were launched by a special C-130 Hercules aircraft. Drones flew with imagery intelligence, signals intelligence (SIGINT), and electronics intelligence (ELINT) collection packages. The imagery intelligence was protected under the BYEMAN Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) category, retired from use in 2005.

Some members on the Defense Science Board want to return to the CIA's and Pentagon's days of yore by using modern versions of drones like the Firebee (above), which targeted China and other Asian countries during the Cold War.

As part of the CIA's OXCART surveillance program, high altitude A-12s, later called SR-71s, flew reconnaissance missions over China, North Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia that were known as GIANT SCALE missions. The missions were first flown out of Beale Air Force Base in California and later moved to Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa under the CIA's CAROUSEL project.

Other SR-71 missions targeted North Korea. Other CIA reconnaissance mission cover names for Asian and/or Soviet Far East operations were COMMAND CLINCH, COMMANDO CLASP, FOOD FAIR, OLD HEAD, EDGE TRACE, BLACK SHIELD, EBONY, ISINGLASS, OLYMPIC TORCH, SENIOR BOOK, and GLASS LAMP. Some other reconnaissance missions were staged from Udorn, Thailand and reconnaissance drones took off from the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong and ships off the Chinese coast to photograph targets in China and return the film canisters to anxious CIA and U.S. military ground personnel.

The U.S. is establishing drone bases all around China in anticipation of the use of aerial, undersea, and possible even small land drones to spy on China. The undersea drones are seen as useful against China's underwater submarine pens on Hainan island. U.S. drone bases are known to exist or will soon exist in the Philippines; Japan; Okinawa, Guam, South Korea; Thailand; Kyrgyzstan; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands; Taiwan; and Palau.

Secret U.S. drone bases in Zamboanga, Philippines (above) and proposed base at Palau International Airport (below). Drones to be based in Palau are said to be used for marine fishery protection, a CIA cover story.

Barack Obama, a product of the CIA's deep recruitment efforts during the Cold War, has called China a "rival," not a "friend" or "partner." If the Pentagon Cold Warriors get their way, America's drones will, again, be flying over China...

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