Before the Navy's SEAL Team 6 raided a compound in Pakistan where they found and killed Osama Bin Laden, they trained for the mission. Their U.S.-based training facility has never been seen before, but thanks to satellite imagery and information gleaned from the controversial book detailing the SEALs efforts, some think the site may have been revealed.
The website Cryptome has pieced together information presented in "No Easy Day," believing it has identified a CIA training facility in North Carolina modeled after the compound the SEALs would face in Pakistan. Cryptome writes:
If you go to Google Maps and put in these coordinates at Harvey Point Defense Testing (CIA training facility) there is nothing but an clearing in a field. If you go to the lower link in Virtual Globetrotting and look at the same location it appears to be the mock up training facility for the Bin Laden raid. It is not completed in the photo, but there is enough built to say it is an almost exact copy of Bin Laden's compound.
Cryptome includes this Google Earth satellite image (below) of the Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound for comparison.
On Bing, the training facility is found at coordinates 36.0983777-76.3265, with the image being taken on Feb. 15, 2011. Cryptome then points out the same location on Google Earth in a satellite image taken Jan. 30, 2012, shows that the facility has been completely demolished.
Defense Secretary Leon Pannetta has said that the information revealed in "No Easy Day" could "jeopardize other operations and the lives of those involved in those missions." Cryptome's use of the book to identify what appears to be a training facility of the SEALs is an example of how it could be used to reveal more detailed information about the mission.
This isn't the only map service revealing sensitive information of late. Apple's new mapping service is coming under fire for showing too detailed of images of Turkey's high-security prisons and Taiwan's top secret radar site. In fact, Taiwan's military has asked Apple Inc. to blur a map image of its new $1.4 billion early warning radar station.
Defense Ministry spokesman David Lo said Tuesday that Apple should follow its rival Google in using only low-resolution satellite pictures to show sensitive facilities. He acknowledged the military should also try to camouflage them.
With these incidents, Popular Science raises the question of censoring satellite map data. Apple maps, it points out, are "absolutely crystal clear," compared to other map services. Popular Science states that as the "map wars" between companies continues, questions of what should be "free" and "who, if anyone, should act as overseer of our digital maps" will too continue to be asked by those concerned about security.
Let us know what you think in the comments section.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
(H/T: Atlantic Wire)