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Tags: pentagon | defense department | surveillance

Pentagon Testing Surveillance Balloons in Six States

A 72-foot long helium-filled balloon flies 2,500 feet above the U.S.-Mexico border near Roma, Texas.
A 72-foot long helium-filled balloon flies 2,500 feet above the U.S.-Mexico border near Roma, Texas. The Department of Defensel is testing the surveillance balloons to see if they could be effective spotting drug smugglers and threats. (Christopher Sherman/AP)

By    |   Friday, 02 August 2019 12:53 PM EDT

The Department of Defense is reportedly testing about a dozen unmanned surveillance balloons flying at a high-altitude over six Midwest states to catch drug trafficking and threats to homeland security, The Guardian reports.

The British newspaper, citing documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission, reports that the U.S. military is launching up to 25 solar-powered balloons from South Dakota, which drift hundreds of miles at an altitude of up to 65,000 feet through parts of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri before ending in Illinois.

These balloons are supposed to “provide a persistent surveillance system to locate and deter narcotic trafficking and homeland security threats,” according to one filing, which was made on behalf of aerospace company Sierra Nevada Corporation, which contracts with the U.S. Armed Forces and NASA, among others.

These balloons carry radars that can track multiple vehicles at any time of day and in any weather. U.S. Southern Command, a joint military effort that handles disaster response, intelligence operations and cooperative security in Central and South America and the Caribbean, commissioned the test. It also plays a significant role in finding and stopping drug shipments on their way to the United States.

“We do not think that American cities should be subject to wide-area surveillance in which every vehicle could be tracked wherever they go,” Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Guardian.

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The Department of Defense is reportedly testing about a dozen unmanned surveillance balloons flying at a high-altitude over six Midwest states to catch drug trafficking and threats to homeland security, The Guardian reports.
pentagon, defense department, surveillance
232
2019-53-02
Friday, 02 August 2019 12:53 PM
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