The Journal of Historical Review

Israel Given Unique Status in U.S. Satellite Photo Access Policy

The U.S. Congress, in a move that further underscores its deferential support for Jewish-Zionist interests, has given Israel a unique security consideration – one that is not given even to the United States of America.

Two years ago Congress formally approved a law making it illegal for American firms to take high-resolution satellite images of the Zionist state. Israel is the only country in the world to be given this protection by U.S. legislation. John C. Baker, a space policy expert at the Rand Corporation, noted that the ban on satellite photos of Israel is the only exception to the U.S. government’s “policy of open skies permitting satellite imagery of the entire earth.”

A Colorado firm, Space Imaging, Inc., launched its Ikonos satellite in September 1999, enabling it to provide pictures for sale to the public that will come closer than ever to the quality of U.S. intelligence photographs. The pictures are so good that U.S. intelligence agencies are expected to be among the company’s major clients. Its satellite digital color images will be able to depict objects as small as one meter wide from a vantage point 423 miles in space, enabling specialists to distinguish tanks from jeeps on a highway.

(Source: V. Loeb, “Spy Satellite Will Take Photos for Public Sale,” The Washington Post, Sept. 25, 1999, p. A3.)

Source: Reprinted from The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 18, no. 5–6, p. 36.

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