The In-Q-Tel alliance has put the Agency back at the leading edge of technology”. Only the CIA knows. This Salt Lake City data center marks the third in the western region joining LA and Dalles, Oregon with the goal of providing lower latency compute power across the region. The big question for a lot of people is: "What can they see?" The most obvious question is: What prompted the acquisition? The first such program was the Corona project, a codeword itself code named "Discoverer" for the public explanation of why the government was firing a rocket into space (a rare event in the late 1950s that would have attracted a curious public and international scrutiny). And if nothing else had come out of it except the knowledge that we gained from space photography, it would be worth ten times what the whole program has cost. As such, the US invested vast sums of money into high-altitude research—from early "weather balloons" to the SR-71 Blackbird and U2 Dragon Lady to orbital telescopes—and established not one but three Federal agencies—the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)—all in an effort to glean any speck of information that could give us an advantage. The second exemption (b)(3) is equally broad. Google (GOOG) has been a partner with the CIA since 2004 when the company bought Keyhole, a mapping technology business that eventually became Google Earth. They are typically used to take overhead photos for military missions. And so, back in May, I submitted a FOIA request to the CIA, asking for: 1) “… a copy of all correspondence (emails, letters, related documents and attachments) relating to Keyhole Inc. Google Earth originated as EarthViewer 3D from CIA-funded company Keyhole, which Google acquired in 2004. Put simply: (b)(1) exempts active military and intelligence operations, or information that can affect these operations. July 1, 2015, From The In-Q-Tel is notorious for investing in … Sad irony: Twitter never went to court to unseal Wikileaks order. By 2003, the CIA’s strategic investment branch In-Q-Tel announced an investment in the company based on the software's ability "radically enhance critical decision making." This kind of active public boasting pretty much stopped after Google bought Keyhole. 2017. The early cameras could achieve a 40-foot resolution. Start the first week of 2021 with the Awesome Games Done Quick speedrunning marathon; Marvel’s The Eternals director, Chloé Zhao, confirms she’s also the film’s writer The The letter did not explain why these two in particular — (b)(1) and (b)(3) — were relevant to the decision to withhold the requested information. The end of the Cold War certainly put a damper on reconnaissance satellite funding, as did the rise of commercial satellite technology, but it remains a staple of our intelligence gathering resources. Was there any internal discussion in the company about the benefits and pitfalls of absorbing a startup so closely tied with the CIA and the Pentagon? Why Google? Or did Google see the acquisition as a convenient way of getting into the military contracting business? a keyhole is the shaped channel into which the key slides to open a locked door. The program began in 1959 at the Onizuka Air Force Station, ran until 1972, and was declassified in 1995 by President Clinton. The irony, of course, is that Google has always boasted about standing up to the national security state. The first such program was the Corona project, a codeword itself code named "Discoverer" for the public explanation of why the government was firing a rocket into space (a rare event in the late 1950s that would have attracted a curious public and international scrutiny). Most of these images have been declassified since 2002, though sensitive areas such as government installations and most of Israel remain tightly guarded. Recorded Future strips from web pages the people, places and activities they mention. Satellite technology is, by far, the most expensive ISR method at the US's disposal but also the most effective, its results well worth the billions of dollars spent. In a press release announcing the investment a few months later, In-Q-Tel discussed Keyhole’s close collaboration with military and intelligence partners and explained that Keyhole technology was already being successfully deployed by active military forces in Iraq. A relationship that the CIA wants us to believe that, should it become public, could seriously harm national security and put all of our lives at risk. But instead of sending me a stack of highly redacted documents, the Agency sent me a skimpy two page response straight out of a Tom Clancy novel: it "could not confirm or deny” the existence of these records. According to the Utah Department of Health, the outbreak in Utah was recognized on Jan. 1st. In-Q-Tel, a venture capital fund run by the CIA on behalf of the military and intelligence community, made a “strategic investment” in Keyhole in February 2003, a month before the US launched Operation Iraqi Freedom. Even now, information on the early satellites is sparse and anything after 1972 is non-existent save for a few photos taken by the KH-11 satellite which were leaked to Jane's Defence Weekly in 1985. Press reports made limited references to the agency as far back as 1971, but it wasn't until the Deputy Secretary of Defense revealed the NRO in 1992, was it ever formally discussed by the DoD. We were building things we didn't need to build. Electronic Briefing Book Secrecy and U.S. Satellite Reconnaissance, 1958-1976 Edited by Jeffrey Richelson. Heck, the NRO was established in 1961 and operated for three decades before the government even ever acknowledged its existence. It took a few years for RAND researchers working on "Project Feedback" to figure out how a satellite would even function—this was a brand new technological concept, mind you—but by 1953 they had not only devised the general characteristics and capabilities of a reconnaissance satellite but had begun to develop many of the components as well, like the television system and altimeter. I purchased a Century Arms built AK-74 off an INGO member as a project rifle. [Raytheon - NRO - FAS 1, 2 - Wiki 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 - Oneonta - Images: NRO, CIA, NASA]. We were harboring fears we didn't need to harbor. The Atomic Energy Commission also began work on miniaturized nuclear power sources for the vehicles at that time. Google fought in court, spent big bucks, no one knows. Keyhole, Inc. was founded by John Hanke (who previously worked in a “foreign affairs” position within the U.S. government). Between 1973 and 1980, these satellites imaged every square foot of the Earth in 29,000 pictures, much of it better quality than LANDSAT, a rival satellite mapping program. The MDDS abstract published online at the University of Texas confirms that the rationale for the CIA-NSA project was to “provide seed money to … The first Coronas carried a paltry 8,000 feet of film—per camera—though through improvements in the film chemistry and design reduced the material thickness, researchers were eventually able to double that amount. In essence, the CIA’s (b)(3) is what's known as a GLOMAR response, named after the agency's refusal, in the mid-1970s, to confirm or deny the existence of a secret boat called the Glomar Explorer built to retrieve a sunken Soviet nuclear submarine. By 1954, the USAF accepted RAND's assertion that the technology was of "vital strategic interest to the United States" and officially established the US satellite program. Satellite imagery was first used in 1991 during Desert Shield and again in Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan (above). That is, the mere existence nor non-existence of any documents relating to the Agency’s involvement in the sale of Keyhole to Google is itself a secret, and cannot be divulged to the public for reasons of national security. Therefore, your request is denied pursuant to FOIA exemptions (b)(1) and (b)(3). The technology has also found new use in providing tactical information to ground troops (not having to catch film canisters with sky hooks helps). CIA, Google Earth, and Pokemon GO. This part of the request should include all correspondence between the CIA and representatives of Google regarding Keyhole, including Keyhole software and services. The code named Kennan "Keyhole-class" (KH) reconnaissance satellites have been orbiting the Earth for more than 30 years. These 1500 kg Lockheed satellites were hastily constructed using the previously-cancelled Itek "E-5" camera in order to survey a rumored anti-ballistic missile site near Tallinn, Estonia. Gary Powers' U2 was shot down over Soviet airspace. Luckily, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) gives a rundown of the meaning and intended use of these exemptions in a handy guide. Once the camera had run through its full complement of film, it would eject the roll via a reentry capsule designed by General Electric. Oversight from the DoD and Congress was virtually non-existent save for the "open-checkbook" policy of the times. I've filed an appeal to the FOIA denial and will update this story when I hear the result. Keyhole, Inc, founded in 2001, is a pioneering software development company specializing in geospatial data visualization applications. CAMBERDADA - Project using SIGINT collection to learn about new malware * CAMELUS - Project to relocate NSA's HF Remote Collection Facility on Okinawa * CANDYGRAM - Laptop mimicking GSM cell tower, sends out SMS whenever registered target enters its area, for tracking and ID of targets CANYON - Class of COMINT spy satellites (1968-1977) The KH-5 ARGON ran in conjunction with Corona from 1961 to 1964, though never with the same degree of success. What is it about Keyhole and Google’s relationship with the CIA that is so sensitive and so vital to the military objectives of the United States that the mere admission of existence of these records poses a grave threat to national security? We were doing things we didn't need to do. RCFP explains that it allows the CIA to deny record requests that are exempted from disclosure by laws that are beyond FOIA. Its initial budget was a modest $108.2 million ($860 million adjusted to 2013), though that quickly increased follo… It is likely that they have since been replaced by another system. Desk. At Google, the Keyhole EarthViewer technology that was born from CIA/In-Q-Tel funding was renamed Google Earth. The Hidden Connection Of the CIA and Google. CIA identifies pressing problems, and In-Q-Tel provides the technology to address them. They quickly put it to use monitoring military operations in … CIA cryptonyms are code names or code words used by the CIA (U.S. Central Intelligence Agency) to reference projects, operations, persons, agencies, etc. Most spy satellites have very limited life spans—two to three months—and once they're out of film they have no further purpose. Did the Agency have any concerns? Google Cloud announced today that it’s a new data center in Salt Lake City has opened, making it the 22nd such center the company has opened to-date.. The CIA got back to me surprisingly quickly. Thirty-eight D-21s were built, with 21 expended. Date range: 1/1/2003 through 12/31/2014.”. However, the image quality was so poor that they were virtually useless. Its initial budget was a modest $108.2 million ($860 million adjusted to 2013), though that quickly increased following the 1960 incident in which Gary Powers' U2 was shot down over Soviet airspace. And while its existence wasn't revealed until 2011, the program dates back to the 1960s as a successor to the Corona program. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) prevents threats to national security by collecting and analyzing intelligence data that is used in coordinating covert operations overseas. Forgotten in all this is the hepatitis outbreak in 2017. I feel like I should send flowers to Google's legal team. This $3.262 billion Lockheed-built NRO program is officially deemed a Broad Coverage Photo Reconnaissance satellite but is better known as "Big Bird." Keyhole Inc also had one major client base: US military and intelligence agencies. The KH-7 and KH-8 series, codenamed Gambit, were a marked departure from that trend and the only other predominantly successful satellite ISR program in the 1960s. It explains that (b)(1) can be used to restrict access to the documents only if “the unauthorized disclosure of the information reasonably could be expected to result in damage to the national security.” Some of the information that currently falls under this provision includes: military plans and weapons systems; intelligence activities and methods; technology that impacts national security; and vulnerabilities and capabilities of systems relating to national security. Phone: (212) 889 3337 Fax: (212) 889 3341 In this case, the CIA wrote to me that there are at least two -- and possibly more -- statues that exempt the documents from disclosure. For instance: In 2010, Google clinched a no-bid contract to supply the NGA with “geospatial visualization services.” The NGA argued that it couldn’t open up the contract to competitors like Microsoft because it had no choice: The US government had invested so much effort and resources into Google’s mapping and geospatial technology, tailoring it to its specific needs, that the Pentagon and Intelligence Community could at this point only use Google products. The last three generations featured a pair of panoramic cameras as well as upgraded electronics, C&C systems and nitrogen-supplied re-entry canisters. In its May 2, 1946 report, "Preliminary Design for an Experimental World Circling Spaceship," the Douglas Aircraft Corporation examined the potential value … In other words: What deal did Google -- now the biggest private surveillance operation on planet earth -- make with the CIA and the NSA, which run the largest government surveillance operations? Fortunately, we have a process explicitly designed to allow the public to find out what the government is up to behind closed doors: A Freedom of Information Act request, or FOIA. Date range: from 1/1/2000 through 12/31/2006.”2) “… a copy of all correspondence (emails, letters, related documents and attachments) referring to or discussing Google’s purchase of Keyhole Inc. Keyhole Research & Consulting is your end-to-end partner for research with a focus on insightful qualitative research. twin body after the fuselage and cargo door? They stated that…, (b)(1) exempts from disclosure information currently and properly classified, pursuant to an Executive Order…, (b)(3) exempts from disclosure information that another federal statute protects, provided that the other federal statute either requires that the matters be withheld, or establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld. Did Google buy Keyhole -- and take on all its military contracts and NatSec liabilities -- because it badly needed its 3D mapping technology? In addition to keeping tabs on Soviet air capabilities, Gambit was also designed to photograph the spacecraft around it. One of the first big milestones in this transformation took place in November 2004 when Google acquired a tiny and little-known 3-D mapping startup called Keyhole Inc. Google paid an undisclosed sum for the company, immediately absorbed it, and began turning its tech into what we now know as Google Earth. In-Q-Tel, a venture capital fund run by the CIA on behalf of the military and intelligence community, made a “strategic investment” in Keyhole in February 2003, a month before the … Caution: Before entering your uNID or password, verify that the address in the URL bar of your browser is directing you to a University of Utah web site. The Tagboard project became Senior Bowl and continued with a B-52 used as the mothership launch vehicle. Google had developed the software behind Google Earth by purchasing Keyhole from the CIA venture firm In-Q-Tel. 1155 S Oak Hills Way Salt Lake City, UT 84108 U.S.A. Gerald & Cullen Rapp 420 Lexington Avenue New York, NY 10170 U.S.A. That year, CIA funding was also being “quietly” funneled through the National Science Foundation to projects that might help create “new capabilities to combat terrorism through advanced technology.” The following year, Google bought the firm Keyhole, which had originally been funded by In … It lasted two years. This part of the request should include all correspondence between the CIA and representatives of Keyhole Inc (e.g. Then there’s the CIA’s perspective: Given Keyhole's close collaboration with active military and intelligence operations, how did the CIA approach the deal? It would then either drop the roll as the Coronas did or automatically develop the photographs, scan them, and transmit the images back to Earth in as little as 20 minutes through the Film Read-Out GAMBIT (FROG) feature (though after $2 billion dollars and nearly a decade of development the 1971 administration nix(on)ed it). anyone know what kind of plane is pictured? This cozy relationship extends into the 2020 Elections. Outside of the Corona program, America's initial attempts at satellite photo-reconnaissance failed more often than not. For all of Google's posturing as the scourge of governement surveillance, the CIA’s blanket GLOMAR denial of my Freedom of Information Act request speaks very loudly to a different side of Google’s relationship with US military intelligence agencies. This 3,000 kg Low Altitude Surveillance Platform developed by Lockheed flew just 75 miles up (Coronas orbited at 100 miles) and operated for nearly two decades from 1964 to 1984. These orbital telescopes granted an unprecedented peek over the Iron Curtain—revealing Soviet military capabilities, supply reserves, industrial sites, and more—that no ground-based spook could hope to provide. In accordance with section 3.6(a) of Executive Order 13526, the CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of records responsive to your request. One of them is the CIA Act of 1949 — which basically gave the Agency the power to act in ultimate secrecy and exempted it from just about every normal government requirement. Unlike conventional aperture cameras, the Gambit's slit camera reflected light off of a 48-inch mirror, through a slit aperture, and on to a moving length of Eastman Kodak Type 3404 film. As President Lyndon B. Johnson famously quipped in 1967 after a Soviet hoax led to worries of a bomber gap: I wouldn't want to be quoted on this ... We've spent $35 or $40 billion on the space program. The CIA poured an unknown amount of money into Keyhole. I usually get so wrapped up in a project that I never document anything, as I just want it done. Later missions continued to halve the resolution until researchers were able to resolve one-foot wide objects, realized that that was way too close to be of any strategic use and backed off to a more manageable 3-foot resolution. During the Cold War, accurately ascertaining the USSR's military capabilities was a top US priority—as well it should have been given that we had as many as 21,000 nuclear warheads pointed at each other during that time. One of the key, early backers of Keyhole was a firm called In-Q-Tel. As long as the intelligence justified the price tag, any cost was acceptable. In 2004, Keyhole EarthViewer was acquired by another little startup that you may have heard of — Google. This ability came in handy in 1973. Launched aboard a Thor booster rocket and Agena spacecraft, these satellites relied on a pair of five foot long stereoscopic Itek cameras using 12-inch, f/5 triplet lenses and a 24-inch focal length (later models also incorporated a third "index" camera for reference). Isn’t it good to know that the CIA … The KH-6 Lanyard program was the NRO's first attempt at high definition photography but lasted just six months and three launches in 1963, two of which failed to produce images. In-Q-Tel is notorious for investing in Keyhole , the technology that later became Google Earth. As former CIA director George Tenet stated in his memoirs: “…CIA identifies pressing problems, and In-Q-Tel provides the technology to address them. The cryptonyms described in this article were in use at least from the 1950s to the 1980s. Very little is known about the satellite's hardware though many have speculated that its roughly the same size as the Hubble Space Telescope with a similar 2.4-meter mirror producing a six inch resolution. Keyhole Inc also had one major client base: US military and intelligence agencies. The hotspots were San Diego and Salt Lake City. They must have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this case alone. Surveillance Valley And while we had plenty of spies operating in Moscow, the view from overhead provided the President and his cabinet key insights into the extent of Soviet strategic capabilities which influenced defense planning and arms control negotiations. What we do know is that the US has been researching high-altitude reconnaissance technology since about 1946 when the RAND project, precursor to Rand Corp., began campaigning for its development. So why is the CIA invoking state secrets and national security arguments when asked to divulge a decade-old conversation regarding Google’s acquisition of a small CIA investment? The fact of the existence or nonexistence of requested records is currently and properly classified and is intelligence sources and methods information that is protected from disclosure by section 6 of the CIA Act of 1949, as amended, and section 102A(i)(l) of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended. Some notable portfolio companies include Palantir, whose data mining software is used across public and private sector institutions, and Keyhole, a mapping firm acquired by Google[4]. Did it impose conditions on Google? No fewer than 54 such satellites launched (these things only worked for three months, tops) from Vandenberg AFB aboard Titan III rockets during that time. The D-21 drone was ultimately replaced by the new KH-11 Keyhole reconnaissance satellite. In the course of investigating the book, I've been digging deeper into Google's relationship with US military industrial complex. This accident terminated the D-21 project as far as the A-12 (M-21) was concerned. The brand new Skylab had just launched when its meteoroid shield broke loose and damaged the space station. As I’ve reported before, Google has been aggressively expanding in the lucrative military contacting market to the point where it has sold advanced military grade data products to just about every major military and intelligence agency in America. They were fed a special Eastman Kodak 70 millimeter film that produced 170 lines per mm—more than three times the 50 lines/mm resolution earlier WWII aerial photography could compose. Of the 12 flights attempted, however, only five successfully put the unit in orbit. By Dr Nafeez Ahmed – Insurge Intelligence: As our governments push to increase their powers, INSURGE INTELLIGENCE can now reveal the vast extent to which the US intelligence community is implicated in nurturing the web platforms we know today, for … The 144-member family of Corona satellites—each designated Keyhole-#, or KH-#, depending on the spacecraft iteration—were produced and operated by the CIA in conjunction with the USAF and provided invaluable photographic surveillance of the Soviet Union as well as the People's Republic of China, and other Communist countries. , written on The design of the legendary National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) KH-11 type digital imaging reconnaissance spacecraft, top secret for 36 years, has been revealed by the NRO’s transfer to NASA of two surplus recon satellite telescopes which NASA now … There's just one problem: Apart from a few basic details, the public knows very little about Google's purchase of Keyhole Inc. Think beyond moderation. The KH-11 KENNAN is the most advanced recon satellite to be unclassified. Keyhole Inc also had one major client base: US military and intelligence agencies. Worldwide praise. Initially launched as a spin-off of Intrinsic Graphics, first round funding came from a Sony venture capital fund and others, additional capital came from an NVIDIA bundling deal, from the CIA (via its If it was picked up in time, the film would be transported to Rochester, New York, for processing at Eastman Kodak's Hawkeye facility. The KH-11 KENNEN (later renamed CRYSTAL, then Evolved Enhanced CRYSTAL System, and codenamed 1010 and Key Hole) is a type of reconnaissance satellite first launched by the American National Reconnaissance Office in December 1976. Ethics aside, espionage is an indispensable part of statecraft. This one will be a little more involved, and take a little bit of time and planning so Im going to give it a shot. Of course, much of the development of our national reconnaissance capabilities is still shrouded in veils of classification. The E-5 had a 66-inch focal length and six foot resolution covering a 9 x 46 mile area. This was just one of many such deals. If the capsule wasn't retrieved within 48 hours, a salt plug at the bottom of the canister would dissolve and sink it. The HEXAGON … As NASA scrambled to send up a manned repair mission, the NRO launched a new Gambit, which snapped this picture and helped NASA engineers plan accordingly. The first generation of HEXAGON employed a pair of f/3.0 folded Wright Camera cameras with a 60-inch focal length able to resolve objects down to 2 feet and carried four re-entry vehicles. The only successful flight returned 910 photographic frames. Until Feb. 13th, 2019. In-Q-Tel, a venture capital fund run by the CIA on behalf of the military and intelligence community, made a “strategic investment” in Keyhole in February 2003, a month before the … Because tonight we know how many missiles the enemy has and, it turned out, our guesses were way off. These 1150 - 1500 kg satellites manufactured by Lockheed Martin and operated by the NR used a single 76 mm focal length camera with a 140 meter resolution were operated primarily for map-making—they were the first to image Antarctica from space—and took less than a week to produce. Did it require Google to honor Keyhole's previous intel commitments as part of the deal? John Hanke). There's also wide speculation that the KH-11 is the source of images declassified in the wake of the 1998 embassy bombings, as well as others of China and Russia declassified the year prior. An investment from the CIA-backed venture firm In-Q-Tel — who said they would use Keyhole’s tech to “support United States troops in Iraq” — kept them moving. GOOGLE: A DARPA ENTERPRISE RUN BY THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY The Long Read: Google – Seeded By The Pentagon. The CIA information officer was kind enough to include definitions of the relevant FOIA exemptions. It has clinched a near monopoly on government battlefield mapping tech, outfitted the CIA and NSA with advanced search capabilities, co-invested in spy satellites and battlefield robots with the Pentagon, partnered with traditional military contractors like Lockheed Martin, and has increasingly filled its executive ranks with top Pentagon officials from the U.S. Army, Air Force Intelligence, and the CIA. Typically used to find Osama bin Laden 's hideout were reportedly supplied by the KENNAN U.S. satellite,. Military contracts and NatSec liabilities -- because it badly needed its 3D technology... 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