Secret In The Sky

Round and round the Earth it goes, who or what it’s spying on very few people know.

Delta 4 rocket successfully lofts surveillance satellite

A Delta 4 rocket made a thunderous departure from California on Tuesday afternoon, only to slip into a news blackout minutes later while it climbed higher and faster to deploy a classified spy satellite, a success-defining milestone that was confirmed by hobbyist observers.

The United Launch Alliance-made booster roared away from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 4:12:57 p.m. local (7:12:57 p.m. EDT; 2312:57 GMT) on a southwesterly course to reach a retrograde orbit inclined 123 degrees relative to the equator.

. . .

The hush-hush nature for the rest of flight is all part of launching covert payloads for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office, the secretive agency that operates the country’s fleet of spy satellites. The NRO does not disclose the purpose of its spacecraft being sent up on each launch, saying only that the flight was called the NROL-25 mission.

See also:
Rocket Launches Secret Spy Satellite for US Military
United Launch Alliance Delta IV Rocket Successfully Launches Payload for the National Reconnaissance Office
United Launch Alliance Delta IV Rocket Successfully Launches Payload for the National Reconnaissance Office
US launches new spy satellite NROL-25
Delta 4 lifts off
Spy satellite-carrying rocket blasts off
U.S. rocket carrying classified payload launches
ULA Successfully Launches Delta IV Rocket
Rocket carrying classified payload launches from California’s central coast
Rocket launch includes key parts from Utah’s ATK sites
List of NRO Launches
National Reconnaissance OfficeNational Reconnaissance Office

According to the listed launch designation, NROL-25 is a radar imaging satellite operating in a retrograde low Earth orbit.

/if I had to guess what it’s looking at, I’d guess Iran

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Sentinel Down

And yet again, after leaving behind a cutting edge stealth helicopter during the bin Laden raid, the U.S. conducts another, involuntary, state-of-the-art military technology transfer to the enemy.

Iran’s capture of US drone shines light on spy mission, but may reveal little

The Iranian capture of a high-tech, stealth U.S. drone shines a light on the American spying mission there, but probably doesn’t tell Tehran much that it didn’t already know, a senior U.S. official said.

The RQ-170 Sentinel was providing surveillance over Iran and didn’t just accidentally wander away from the Afghanistan border region, as first suggested. The official said Wednesday that the Iranians will no doubt be able to tell where the aircraft flew. A bigger U.S. concern, the official said, was that the Iranians are likely to share or sell whatever they have recovered of the aircraft to the Chinese, Russians or others. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the mission.

Experts and officials acknowledge that there is no self-destruct mechanism on the Sentinels — which are used both by the military and the CIA for classified surveillance and intelligence gathering missions.

. . .

U.S. officials said that while they have enough information to confirm that Iran does have the wreckage, they said they are not sure what the Iranians will be able to glean technologically from what they found. It is unlikely that Iran would be able to recover any surveillance data from the aircraft.

See also:
US admits downed drone spied on Iran
Iran says US spy drone was flying deep inside its airspace when it was downed
Malfunction likely put U.S. drone in Iranian hands
Iran Probably Did Capture a Secret U.S. Drone
U.S. Military Sources: Iran Has Missing U.S. Drone
Drone that crashed in Iran may give away U.S. secrets
China, Russia want to inspect downed U.S. drone
Sentinel unmanned drone lost in Iran among US most valuable warfare assets
Drone belonged to CIA, officials say
Downed drone was on CIA mission
Officials: Drone downed in Iran on CIA mission
Drone Lost in Iran Was Joint CIA-Military Reconnaissance Plane
Iran’s downing of U.S. drone rattles Washington
US ‘concerned’ over drone lost near Iran border
Experts: Iran capture of stealth drone no worry
US considered missions to destroy RQ-170 Sentinel drone lost in Iran
Spy drone may provide little help to Iran
U.S. debated sending commandos into Iran to recover drone
U.S. Made Covert Plan to Retrieve Iran Drone
Iran: The Stealth War Continues
Drone Drama Proves Iran Is Ready to Rumble
Stealth drone highlights tougher U.S. strategy on Iran
U.S. drones have been spying on Iran for years

The good news is that we seem to be paying close attention to what Iran is up to, have been for years, and can penetrate Iranian airspace with near impunity. These past and, hopefully, ongoing intelligence gathering and surveillance activities should help provide a detailed blueprint for when push comes to shove and Iran has to be dealt with militarily, which is sure to eventually become a necessity.

/that said, it’s a total unforced strategic error to just let Iran have this advanced technology drone, to share with or sell to other potential enemies of the United States, would it have killed us, if we didn’t want to risk lives to recover the Sentinel, to at least launch an airstrike package to obliterate the wreckage?

Can You Hack It?

Calling all hackers, do you pack what it takes?

NSA is looking for a few good hackers

The National Security Agency has a challenge for hackers who think they’re hot stuff: Prove it by working on the “hardest problems on Earth.”

Computer hacker skills are in great demand in the U.S. government to fight the cyberwars that pose a growing national security threat — and they are in short supply.

For that reason an alphabet soup of federal agencies — DOD, DHS, NASA, NSA — are descending on Las Vegas this week for Defcon, an annual hacker convention where the $150 entrance fee is cash only — no registration, no credit cards, no names taken. Attendance is expected to top 10,000.

The NSA is among the keen suitors. The spy agency plays offense and defense in the cyberwars. It conducts electronic eavesdropping on adversaries, and it protects U.S. computer networks that hold super-secret material — a prime target for America’s enemies.

See also:
NSA Wants to Hire Hackers at DefCon
US gov’t building hacker army for cyber war
U.S. government hankers for hackers
U.S. Federal Agencies Look to Hire Hackers at Defcon; Cyber Criminals Offer Services to the Public
US government agencies scouting for computer hackers: report
Federal Agencies to Recruit Hackers at Defcon
R u h4X0R? n33d @ jo8? NSA wants you (locked up in a cubicle, not a cell)
The NSA Wants More Hackers for Their ‘Collection of Geeks’
Welcome to the National Security Agency – NSA/CSS
National Security Agency
Defcon
DEF CON

Would you rather work for them or be hunted down by them? If you’re good enough, it probably pays pretty well and beats sitting in a prison cell.

/don’t forget to bring your white hat

It’s A Bird, It’s Not A Plane, It’s A Spy Drone!

This would make an awesome cat toy!

Hummingbird spy drone developed for DARPA

Under a contract from DARPA, AeroVironment Unmanned Aircraft Systems has created a hummingbird spy drone, the first two-wing, flapping-wing aircraft that carries its own energy source and can hover as well as move forwards.

The Nano Hummingbird can climb and descend vertically and fly sideways, forwards and backwards, as well as rotating clockwise and counter-clockwise, under remote control and carrying a video camera payload.

During a demonstration, the Nano Hummingbird flew in and out of a building through a normal-size doorway.

The hand-made prototype has a wingspan of 6.5 inches tip-to-tip and weighs less than an AA battery. It can be fitted with a removable body fairing, shaped like a real hummingbird and about the same size.

See also:
It’s a bird! It’s a spy! It’s both
Robot Hummingbird Spy Drone Flies for Eight Minutes, Spies on Bad Guys
US robot ornithopter spy-hummingbird in flight test triumph
Spy tech: DARPA demonstrates Nano Hummingbird spy drone
DARPA Backs Hummingbird Like Spy Robot
Small hummingbird aircraft flaps like a bird, weighs less than a Duracell
Next post Video: Hummingbird Drone Does Loop-de-Loop
Tiny ‘Hummingbird’ May Someday Fly Spy Missions For The Military
Robotic hummingbird is right out of a James Bond film
Technology: James Bond’s hummingbird
Bird Bond: ‘Nano Hummingbird’ Drone Takes Spying to the Sky
Tiny robotic bird is latest in gov’t spy gear
AV’s ‘hummingbird’ aircraft displays maneuverability
Watch a hummingbird-shaped spy drone flutter around, steal your secrets
AeroVironment, Inc.: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Although this is a prodigious display of technological achievement, there’s a major drawback to developing a hummingbird spy drone, hummingbirds are only found in North, South, and Central America. So, besides Venezuela, it’s pretty much worthless for covert spying against almost all the global enemies of the United States.

/now, if they could reduce it down to insect size . . .

Our Friends, The Crazy Ass Saudis

How bad is the Saudi’s irrational, paranoid Jew hatred? Pretty bad.

Saudi Arabia ‘detains’ Israeli vulture for spying

Saudi Arabian officials have “detained” a vulture on accusations of being a spy for Israel, media reports say.

The griffon vulture was carrying a GPS transmitter bearing the name of Tel Aviv University, prompting rumours it was part of a Zionist plot.

Israeli wildlife officials dismissed the claims as ludicrous and expressed concern about the bird’s fate.

Last month, Egyptian officials implied the Israeli spy agency Mossad was to blame for shark attacks off its coast.

Finally, reality creeps through the delusions.

“Spy Vulture” Cleared Of Espionage Charges

Following widespread (and embarrassing) news coverage, the vulture captured in Saudi Arabia and reportedly “arrested” on charges of espionage will be released. Israelis told Sky News that associating the migrating vulture with Mossad – one of Israel’s intelligence agencies – was a product of an “overactive imagination.”

Emirates 24/7 meanwhile quotes Prince Bandar bin Saud Al Saud, who acknowledged that the GPS bracelet fitted to what is actually a bald eagle is legitimate, and not “Israeli spy systems arsenal.” He accused local media of sensationalizing the story without checking the facts.

See also:
Saudi Arabia ‘detains’ Israeli vulture for spying
Saudis Expose Dastardly Zionist Vulture Plot
For the Birds: Saudi Arabia ‘Detains’ Vulture for Possible Espionage
Vulture Spy Arrested in Saudi Arabia
Vulture held as Mossad spy by Saudi Arabia
Israel denies vulture detained by Saudis is a spy
Bird expert calls for release of ‘vulture spy’
Saudis to free Israeli vulture
‘Zionist Spy Vulture’ to be freed
Saudi Arabia Releases ‘Zionist Spy’ Bird of Prey
Saudi Arabia frees vulture suspected of spying for Israel
Mossad vulture free to fly away

Free the Jew bird! You just can’t make this stuff up.

/and remember, we’re dependent on these loonies for our oil

The Russians Are Not Amused

Remember Anna Chapman and the nine other Russian spies that were arrested last June? Well, it appears they were outed by a high ranking Russian intelligence officer who was also working for the United States. Needless to say, the Russians are not pleased about this huge embarrassment.

Russian Double Agent Betrayed Spy Ring in US

Russia’s spy scandal is flaring up again on the news that an intelligence service colonel betrayed the identities of 10 spies, then defected to the United States.

A high-ranking Russian double agent was behind last summer’s exposure and arrest of 10 Russian sleeper spies in the United States. The news was published in Kommersant newspaper Friday and later confirmed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Days before the arrests, a Colonel Shcherbakov, a branch leader of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, fled Moscow to join his daughter and son in the United States, according to the news report.

Gennady Gudkov, a deputy on the State Duma’s Security Committee, told Interfax that the colonel’s defection was a major blow to the “S” Directorate, which prepare deep cover agents for overseas work. He said internal alarm bells should have rung because the colonel’s daughter was a long-term resident in the United State and the Colonel declined a promotion last year, presumably to avoid taking a lie detector test.

Russia Hunts Double Agent Who Betrayed Spies, Newspaper Says

A Moscow newspaper reported on Thursday that the Kremlin has dispatched an assassin to hunt down a suspected double agent it blames for betraying the Russian spies arrested in June by the United States.

According to the report in Kommersant, an unnamed Kremlin official said that the former head of the Russian intelligence service’s “illegal” spying operations in the U.S., a Colonel Shcherbakov, had betrayed his colleagues and is now being actively sought out.

See also:
Spy Defection Roils Russian Intelligence Service
Mole in intelligence service betrayed Russian spies in US, says newspaper
Senior Russian official may have turned in spies to U.S., newspaper says
Russian official revealed spy ring
Dmitry Medvedev confirms traitor told US about Russian spy ring
Russian intelligence service identifies traitor in U.S. spy scandal
Anna’s Unfaithful Spy Boss
More Information Revealed On the Russian Spies In The US
Russian double agent helped US crack spy ring: lawmaker
Russian Newspaper Names Double Agent Responsible For Spy Ring Bust
Kremlin official issues death threat in Russian spy scandal. Is the KGB coming back?
Top Russian Spy Reportedly Defects After Betraying Anna Chapman, Other Agents in United States
Video: Top Russian Spy defects after betraying ring in the United States
Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR)
Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki

Foreign Intelligence Service (Russia)

This is a major score for U.S. intelligence, high ranking defectors like this don’t come around very often. It’s a safe bet that the CIA got a lot more information out of Colonel Shcherbakov than just the names of the ten Russian agents.

/well played Colonel Shcherbakov, your new country thanks you, hopefully the CIA can keep you alive