Government To Declassify Historical Images From Spy Satellites

1279aThe public will at last get a glimpse at our government’s secretive, Cold War-era version of Google Earth. Secrecy News reports:

Millions of feet of film of historical imagery from intelligence satellites may be declassified this year, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) said.

“The NGA is anticipating the potential declassification of significant amounts of film-based imagery… in 2011,” according to an NGA announcement that solicited contractor interest in converting the declassified film into digital format.

For planning purposes, the NGA told potential contractors to assume the need to digitize “approximately 4 million linear feet of film up to approximately 7 inches in width.” The imagery is “stored on 500 foot spools, with many frames up to several feet in length.” A nominal start date of October 1, 2011 was specified for the digitization project.

The declassification of historical intelligence satellite imagery has been largely dormant for many years. President Clinton’s 1995 executive order 12951 promised a periodic review of classified imagery “with the objective of making available to the public as much imagery as possible consistent with the interests of national defense and foreign policy.” In particular, a review of obsolete film-return systems, such as the KH-8 GAMBIT and the KH-9 HEXAGON, was to be completed within five years. This was not done, or produced no results if it was done.

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  • Targeteer

    In 1973 while assigned to a staff command at Pearl Harbor I carried a TS clearance. Later, I was reassigned to the Fleet Intelligence Center Pacific, also at Pearl Harbor, and later to the Atlantic Intelligence Command, Norfolk, VA. My clearance access was upgraded to TS/SBI/SCIF which enabled me to work as an analyst doing image interpretation in one of the “spy satellite” programs. To this day, I cannot confirm or deny any aspect of the intel programs & work that I did.

    It amazes me how much classified information is available from unclassified sources, so if yer at all interested just fly the friendly skies of the internet and enjoy the view! Keep in mind that LEO birds fly very fast & tasking assignments are handled at the highest level. For all intel agencies, top priority “sky box” seating at a moments notice is pricey stuff – all others need to make reservations well in advance, with some finding room only in the bleachers. Most of the scifi info that’s down sourced from Hollywood is the work of space shot script writers who are in perpetual orbit themselves & clutter up the scenery like so much “space junk!”

    • mrtastycakes

      Good to see some fellow C4ISR folks reading Disinfo.

      • Targeteer

        Likewise!

        As you probably are aware, a lot of my time was spent pouring over pubs, some classified, some not, to develop a “Big Think” picture of significant, relevant documentation to support the development, reliability & utilization of my intel products.

        The process of Big Think in a military environment is by definition an oxymoron. The Atlantic Intel Command was a joint military operation, but all the intel I worked on was classified NOFORN, for US eyes only, no foreign nationals allowed access. Not only that, each military branch & intel agency is covetous of their unique position in the food chain of access, interpretation, dissemination, utilization, implementation & tactical or strategic significance of their missions. The pervasiveness of military “disinformation” & “spin” is legendary, and its practitioners legion – the concept of Big Think reduced to perverted, short sighted, weaponized propaganda that pollutes brilliant technologies, relegating them to obscure deployment in the arsenal of mutual self destruction.

        My small role in all of this, stretching over eleven years, was working with the Marine Corps on amphibious warfare spec ops, building intel products to support SOLIC’s, Special Operation Low Intensity Conflict. In other words, below the radar insertion teams under deep cover carrying out clandestine missions that minimized impact & eliminated collateral damage in the “no wake” zones of “modern” warfare.

        I always say to myself, If the general public in the USA knew what was really shakin’ in the wide, wide manipulative world of politics, the military, FBI, CIA & intel agencies, they’d join a survivalist militia and disappear into Idaho’s Bitterroot Wilderness. As for me, although I don’t support the status quot per se, for the last 17 years I’ve been living comfortably, though modestly, on my fat pension, low cost health care, and complete benefits with base privileges.

        In my Navy career I crossed three oceans, served on four ships, traveled to Asia, Europe, both East and West Africa and points Down Under. I am a veteran of two wars and participated in one live fire Marine Corps spec op, Operation Sharp Edge in August, 1990 on the eve of Dessert Shield. Yeah, I’m just a squid who couldn’t muster the strength to fight his way through an MRE, but I’ve had the pleasure and honor to have worked closely with those who can & have.

        Flawed as it is, dishonest and unfair to the bone, the USA is a work in progress in want of a voice that inspires courage, not a pitiful, self serving whimper that stifles our collective spirit and imaginations. It might just be that greatness is within our grasp, but we are not going to find it speeding along in a Low Earth Orbit aboard a spy satellite drawing a bead on perceived enemies whose shadows darken our vision in a myopic downward spiral that great philosophers have predicted would be our doom.

        I’ll leave you with two thoughts: “Give peace a chance.” John Lennon. “Semper Fi” United States Marine Corps.

  • Targeteer

    In 1973 while assigned to a staff command at Pearl Harbor I carried a TS clearance. Later, I was reassigned to the Fleet Intelligence Center Pacific, also at Pearl Harbor, and later to the Atlantic Intelligence Command, Norfolk, VA. My clearance access was upgraded to TS/SBI/SCIF which enabled me to work as an analyst doing image interpretation in one of the “spy satellite” programs. To this day, I cannot confirm or deny any aspect of the intel programs & work that I did.

    It amazes me how much classified information is available from unclassified sources, so if yer at all interested just fly the friendly skies of the internet and enjoy the view! Keep in mind that LEO birds fly very fast & tasking assignments are handled at the highest level. For all intel agencies, top priority “sky box” seating at a moments notice is pricey stuff – all others need to make reservations well in advance, with some finding room only in the bleachers. Most of the scifi info that’s down sourced from Hollywood is the work of space shot script writers who are in perpetual orbit themselves & clutter up the scenery like so much “space junk!”

  • mrtastycakes

    Good to see some fellow C4ISR folks reading Disinfo.

  • Targeteer

    Likewise!

    As you probably are aware, a lot of my time was spent pouring over pubs, some classified, some not, to develop a “Big Think” picture of significant, relevant documentation to support the development, reliability & utilization of my intel products.

    The process of Big Think in a military environment is by definition an oxymoron. The Atlantic Intel Command was a joint military operation, but all the intel I worked on was classified NOFORN, for US eyes only, no foreign nationals allowed access. Not only that, each military branch & intel agency is covetous of their unique position in the food chain of access, interpretation, dissemination, utilization, implementation & tactical or strategic significance of their missions. The pervasiveness of military “disinformation” & “spin” is legendary, and its practitioners legion – the concept of Big Think reduced to perverted, short sighted, weaponized propaganda that pollutes brilliant technologies, relegating them to obscure deployment in the arsenal of mutual self destruction.

    My small role in all of this, stretching over eleven years, was working with the Marine Corps on amphibious warfare spec ops, building intel products to support SOLIC’s, Special Operation Low Intensity Conflict. In other words, below the radar insertion teams under deep cover carrying out clandestine missions that minimized impact & eliminated collateral damage in the “no wake” zones of “modern” warfare.

    I always say to myself, If the general public in the USA knew what was really shakin’ in the wide, wide manipulative world of politics, the military, FBI, CIA & intel agencies, they’d join a survivalist militia and disappear into Idaho’s Bitterroot Wilderness. As for me, although I don’t support the status quot per se, for the last 17 years I’ve been living comfortably, though modestly, on my fat pension, low cost health care, and complete benefits with base privileges.

    In my Navy career I crossed three oceans, served on four ships, traveled to Asia, Europe, both East and West Africa and points Down Under. I am a veteran of two wars and participated in one live fire Marine Corps spec op, Operation Sharp Edge in August, 1990 on the eve of Dessert Shield. Yeah, I’m just a squid who couldn’t muster the strength to fight his way through an MRE, but I’ve had the pleasure and honor to have worked closely with those who can & have.

    Flawed as it is, dishonest and unfair to the bone, the USA is a work in progress in want of a voice that inspires courage, not a pitiful, self serving whimper that stifles our collective spirit and imaginations. It might just be that greatness is within our grasp, but we are not going to find it speeding along in a Low Earth Orbit aboard a spy satellite drawing a bead on perceived enemies whose shadows darken our vision in a myopic downward spiral that great philosophers have predicted would be our doom.

    I’ll leave you with two thoughts: “Give peace a chance.” John Lennon. “Semper Fi” United States Marine Corps.

  • Targeteer

    Likewise!

    As you probably are aware, a lot of my time was spent pouring over pubs, some classified, some not, to develop a “Big Think” picture of significant, relevant documentation to support the development, reliability & utilization of my intel products.

    The process of Big Think in a military environment is by definition an oxymoron. The Atlantic Intel Command was a joint military operation, but all the intel I worked on was classified NOFORN, for US eyes only, no foreign nationals allowed access. Not only that, each military branch & intel agency is covetous of their unique position in the food chain of access, interpretation, dissemination, utilization, implementation & tactical or strategic significance of their missions. The pervasiveness of military “disinformation” & “spin” is legendary, and its practitioners legion – the concept of Big Think reduced to perverted, short sighted, weaponized propaganda that pollutes brilliant technologies, relegating them to obscure deployment in the arsenal of mutual self destruction.

    My small role in all of this, stretching over eleven years, was working with the Marine Corps on amphibious warfare spec ops, building intel products to support SOLIC’s, Special Operation Low Intensity Conflict. In other words, below the radar insertion teams under deep cover carrying out clandestine missions that minimized impact & eliminated collateral damage in the “no wake” zones of “modern” warfare.

    I always say to myself, If the general public in the USA knew what was really shakin’ in the wide, wide manipulative world of politics, the military, FBI, CIA & intel agencies, they’d join a survivalist militia and disappear into Idaho’s Bitterroot Wilderness. As for me, although I don’t support the status quot per se, for the last 17 years I’ve been living comfortably, though modestly, on my fat pension, low cost health care, and complete benefits with base privileges.

    In my Navy career I crossed three oceans, served on four ships, traveled to Asia, Europe, both East and West Africa and points Down Under. I am a veteran of two wars and participated in one live fire Marine Corps spec op, Operation Sharp Edge in August, 1990 on the eve of Dessert Shield. Yeah, I’m just a squid who couldn’t muster the strength to fight his way through an MRE, but I’ve had the pleasure and honor to have worked closely with those who can & have.

    Flawed as it is, dishonest and unfair to the bone, the USA is a work in progress in want of a voice that inspires courage, not a pitiful, self serving whimper that stifles our collective spirit and imaginations. It might just be that greatness is within our grasp, but we are not going to find it speeding along in a Low Earth Orbit aboard a spy satellite drawing a bead on perceived enemies whose shadows darken our vision in a myopic downward spiral that great philosophers have predicted would be our doom.

    I’ll leave you with two thoughts: “Give peace a chance.” John Lennon. “Semper Fi” United States Marine Corps.

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