Malaysia believes undisclosed data from U.S. spy satellites based in Australia may be able to help find missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, according to the government-controlled New Straits Times.
The newspaper states that Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein “was specific in saying Malaysia would appreciate it if the U.S. could provide investigators with data from its facilities in Australia.”
On Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama designated the search for a missing passenger jet a “top priority” and said that U.S. had put “every resource that we have available” at the disposal of the search.
One of the facilities highlighted by the Times is Pine Gap, a satellite tracking station that is jointly run by the CIA and NSA.
The facility served as one of the biggest ECHELON signals intelligence facilities in the world and now controls American spy satellites as they fly over China, North Korea, Afghanistan, and the Middle East.
“Our focus is on four tasks: gathering information from satellite surveillance, analysis of surveillance radar data, increasing air and surface assets and increasing the number of technical and subject matter experts,” Hishammuddin said on Tuesday.
The Malaysia defence chief acknowledged that it is unusual to share privileged information obtained from military-use satellites since the data is regarded as privileged on national security grounds. He also said that Malaysia had “put our search effort above our national security.”
The U.S. has not made any comments about Malaysia’s request for Pine Gap Data. Business Insider has reached out and will update this post if we receive a response.
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