The 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.