Friday, February 11, 2011

U.S. using "technical means" to keep an eye on Egypt

The U.S. military and intelligence community are using "national technical means" in the skies over Egypt to gather information about the demonstrations and the deployment of Egyptian security forces.
The phrase "national technical means" is used by the U.S. government to generally refer to the use of reconnaissance satellites or other assets to gather imagery or signals intelligence.

A senior U.S. official with direct knowledge of the operation confirmed the intelligence gathering, but declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the matter.

The official declined to say to what extent the Egyptian government is aware of the activity. The official would not say specifically which intelligence gathering elements were being used, but indicated operations were being conducted in a manner that would not be visible to the Egyptian populace.

The official said the decision to use intelligence gathering assets came in part after the initial violence erupted in the early days of the Cairo demonstrations.

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