RE: TERRORISM: Seriousness and potential strategies

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Sun Sep 16 2001 - 13:31:12 MDT

The military and reconnaissance agencies have already considered these types
of devices. Although technology in the private sector has greatly increased
in the last few years, it is still far behind top-secret military
technology. A spy satellite in orbit, with a larger and more sophisticated
camera, can probably get better resolution pictures than these small devices
up close. For going inside buildings or into tunnels, the reception becomes
the next big limiting factor.

Besides, what is it that you think we will get a picture of? These kinds of
drones can't get close enough to bug a meeting. Such transmitters can be
detected with radio-reception devices. If the drones have to stay far away,
we could do little more than map locations or detect movements of people and
equipment. We already have this capability today. I'm not sure what exact
benefit these little birds add to our satellite net that we already have.

I guess the real problem is not one that can be solved with technology.
It's not that we don't have the spy tools that work. The problem is that we
don't know where to look. We can point a spy satellite to any specific spot
on earth, and get a resolution down far enough to read license plates.
That's too much detail. We can't watch every tent in the Middle East at
once. Like with these little drones, we would need intelligence of where to
spy. As with all technology, doing something is easy, figuring out what to
do is hard. I don't think there is a technology problem to be solved here.
I think there are procedural and operational problems.

I know it is fun to speculate on these kinds of devices, but it is naive to
think that our military and government haven't already looked into these
mundane kind of devices. I doubt anything we dream up on this list now will
be advanced enough or could be implemented fast enough to participate in the
current crisis. I personally think it would be more interesting to think
about future responses with future technology, which is unpredictable and
new enough that we might have a chance to develop some new ideas.

Harvey Newstrom <> <>

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:48 MDT