Donald Trump: Declassified documents show that Trump tweeted picture from surveillance satellite
Donald Trump tweeted picture
Donald Trump tweeted a picture three years ago that stunned intelligence professionals.
The image showed a rocket that had blown up on its launch pad in the heart of Iran. Some people initially believed it might not have been taken by a satellite because it was so sharp.
The Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey’s Jeffrey Lewis, who studies satellite photography, praises the image’s superb quality and attention to detail.
However, aerospace specialists immediately deduced that it was captured on camera by one of America’s most valuable intelligence assets: a classified spacecraft known as USA 224, which is commonly thought to be a high-end KH-11 reconnaissance satellite.
The original image has now been legally declassified by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), three years after Trump’s tweet. NPR’s Freedom of Information Act request led to the declassification, which came after a laborious Pentagon-wide investigation to establish whether the briefing slide it originated from could be made available to the public.
According to Steven Aftergood, a specialist in secrecy and classification at the Federation of American Scientists, many details on the original image are still redacted, which is a blatant indication that Trump was disseminating some of the most valuable intelligence held by the American government on social media.
Just a few days after Trump declared his intention to run for president in 2024, the disclosure was made. It also comes after the FBI’s August seizure of 33 boxes containing more than 100 secret documents that were kept at Trump’s Florida club Mar-a-Lago. The Washington Post said that some of those materials had an Iranian connection.
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The NGA is the government’s clearinghouse for much of its intelligence, and it created the image Trump used in his 2019 tweet. The organization gathers imagery from satellites, spy planes, and drones and converts it into data that decision-makers can use.
Robert Cardillo, who led the NGA from 2014 to 2019, says it’s customary for those folks to want to declassify what they observe. He claims that he would frequently recommend that the government instead release a lower-resolution image taken by a private satellite. According to Cardillo, “it was done occasionally as a strategy to safeguard that source, but then still get the information out.”
He claims he has never before seen a photograph like the one President Trump tweeted that was authorized for public circulation.