Bing Maps Appear To Show The 'Secret' US Drone Base In Saudi Arabia

saudi drone base

Photo: Bing Maps via Wired

Last night Wired’s Noah Shachtman published satellite images of a remote airstrip deep in the desert of Saudi Arabia that appears to be an American drone outpost built two years ago to target suspect terrorists in Yemen and Somalia.

saudi drone base

Photo: Bing Maps via Wired

The base was disclosed anonymously to the The Times Of London two years ago, but was only confirmed this week in the Washington Post and The New York Times. (The outlets had previously been in agreement with the Obama administration to refrain publishing the information out of national security concerns.) 

saudi drone base

Photo: Bing Maps via Wired

From Wired:

The images show a trio of “clamshell”-style hangars, surrounded by fencing. Each is more than 150 feet long and approximately 75 feet wide; that’s sufficient to hold U.S. Predator and Reaper drones. The hangars are slightly larger, though similar in shape, to ones housing unmanned planes at Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan. Shamsi Air Field in Pakistan, which once held U.S. drones, boasts a group of three hangars not unlike the ones of the Saudi base.

saudi drone base

Photo: Bing Maps via Wired

Two officials told Shachtman that the Bing Maps likely show the U.S. drone base, given it’s set-up and remote location.

“I believe it’s the facility that the U.S. uses to fly drones into Yemen,” one officer said. “It’s out in eastern Saudi Arabia, near Yemen and where the bad guys are supposed to hang out. It has those clamshell hangars, which we’ve seen before associated with U.S. drones.”

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Photo: Bing Maps via Wired

“It’s obviously a military base,” an intelligence analyst told Wired. “It’s clearly an operating air base in the middle of nowhere, but near the Yemeni border. You tell me what it is.”

saudi drone base

Photo: Bing Maps via Wired

The first strike launch from the Saudi base killed American-born al-Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki. This week NBC News published a 16-page “white paper” that outlined the Obama administration’s secret justification for targeting American citizens with drone strikes.

saudi drone base

Photo: Bing Maps via Wired

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), the U.S. has launched at least 42 drone strikes — which have killed at least 72 civilians — in Yemen since 2002 as well as at least 10 strikes — which have killed at least 10 civilians — in Somalia since 2007.

saudi arabia mapThe location of the airfield (red dot).

Photo: Bing Maps via Wired

SEE ALSO: Top reporter in Yemen explains the secret US drone war thereSEE ALSO: NPR catches Leon Panetta fibbing about civilian drone casualties 

SEE ALSO: America is setting a dangerous precedent for the drone age

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