Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Google Maps: What's Good For Israel Is Good For Iran

Last year an op-ed on opined that:
We must get used to new reality where Google Earth uncovers our top secrets

The identification of sensitive strategic and security sites in Israel is a major objective for countries such as Iran and Syria. The intelligence gathering ability of Arab states in Israel is rather limited, particularly in all matters pertaining to the gathering of military intelligence via cutting-edge technologies. Until now, these countries were forced to rely on superpowers and commercial companies, which usually sold low-resolution images.

...However, now that we have this strip show, Arab states find it easier to point to the location they are interested in. When this website is used by an expert, who knows exactly what he's looking for at the sensitive site, the quality provided by the site may be enough to confirm or reject the existence of one site or another or of certain capabilities attributed to Israel.
Of course, the same tool should work in the other direction as well--shouldn't Google Earth make it possible to uncover facts about Iran as well. True, there shouldn't be anything of note that Google Earth can reveal about Iran that the US's own spy satellites can't uncover, but who is to say that the US is always going to be willing to share with Israel all of the intelligence they come up with. It's good to have other resources.

That point is illustrated by a post by James J. Robbins on National Review Online about Google Maps:
I was putting together a crisis decision making scenario for my Summer Seminar on Intelligence which posits a possible (and in my opinion inevitable) Iranian nuclear weapons test. Some open source analysts believe that the secret nuclear development site is near the town of Parchin, which is southeast of Tehran. The suspected facility is near a ridge a few kilometers east of the town. Down a road to the south is an area that might be a test site under preparation. It seems to fit the characteristics listed by the Defense Treaty Inspection Readiness Program (DTIRP). Looking further south I came across this very interesting high security compound with what looks like a communications tower. I hadn't seen this compound noted in other writings on Parchin, but it certainly piques one's interest, particularly the fact that it is walled off. I'm writing about it because I'm continually amazed at the public tools available these days that one can access from one's desktop, and also because while the parties who ought to know about that compound probably do, I have spent enough time in government to know that it never hurts to point things out in case they don't. [emphasis added]
Or in case the government is not in a sharing mood.

It's good to know that Israel is not the only country in the Middle East that is so easily accessible via Google--you know, just in case Israel decides to pay a visit.

Crossposted at Soccer Dad

Technorati Tag: and and .

No comments: