Last month, Google Maps revealed what looked to be secret structures in China's Gobi Desert. They were theorized to be used for calibration of spy satellites. But could Google Maps be revealing U.S. military secrets as well?
Fox News reports that U.S. Military bases are searchable on Google Maps, one of which seems to show a top-secret drone on the landing strip:
At Google Maps, anyone can search for the names of military bases and zoom in to see airstrips and possibly even top-secret military drones like the RQ-170 Sentinel lost in Iran last week. Aviation website Flight Global has done just that, and claims to have found the secret airstrip at Yucca Lake, Nev., used for testing the RQ-170.
The Google Maps site shows satellite images of either a Predator or Reaper drone on the airstrip, although Flight Global says the RQ-170 was tested there as well -- information that’s surely of interest to the Iranian military, said Cedric Leighton, a retired Air Force colonel.
“Iranians would be most interested in operational bases because that tells them how we fly our surveillance missions,” Leighton told FoxNews.com.
“Google is making public what was once the sole province of the military and intelligence community, making this a brave new world for the intel agencies as well,” he said.
Fight Global states that the image taken in early 2011 shows not only the drone, but more than 5,000 feet of runway, four hangars and details of the airfield, including ongoing construction.
Leighton told Fox News that while Google has the right to show these images, it should choose not to for national security. Leighton also noted that the military blocked Google Earth on military bases, due to up close photography.
On the other hand, Fox News reports Dr. John Michener, chief scientist at security firm Casaba, as saying that the military should know when satellites are overhead and take action to hide equipment it may not want seen.
Fox News reports that Google did not return a request for comment.