THE PENTAGON — The Pentagon has discovered a gap in the defenses of Washington, D.C., and it’s about to test a solution.
But depending on your point of view, the solution is either vital for national security or a threat to American privacy.
Starting this fall, two blimps will float at 10,000 feet over the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland in an attempt to develop a defense for the nation’s capital against cruise missiles fired from ships offshore.
Russia already has a large arsenal of cruise missiles – essentially low-flying unmanned aircraft – and other countries like Iran are developing them.
The blimps carry radars that can search for hundreds of miles to detect the launch of a cruise missile and relay the data to interceptor missiles which have been positioned around Washington since Sept. 11, 2001.
But those same blimps can also be outfitted with radars capable of tracking vehicles on the ground and with cameras that can watch people, much like blimps already do at U.S. bases in Afghanistan and along the border with Mexico. That would give government the ability to follow American citizens as they go about their daily lives.
“Right now there are no rules,” he said. “There’s nothing that bars us from having high-powered cameras monitoring our every public movement.”