Bing potentially reveals secret US drone base in Saudi Arabia

Just how good is Bing's aerial imagery? It could be good enough to reveal a secret United States drone based in southern Saudi Arabia, if a report from Wired is to be believed. Located very close to the Yemen-Saudi Arabia border, the alleged drone base is built in the middle of a vast desert, hundreds of kilometers from civilization and far off Saudi highways.

Zoom out too far and the base disappears into a vast sea of orange-brown soil, making its discovering nearly impossible without someone's knowledge of the location. The New York Times talks briefly about a CIA base in Saudi Arabia that was built around two years ago to carry out drone strikes on neighboring Yemen, however digging and interviews by Wired's Danger Room strongly believes the base discovered in Bing Maps is the one being talked about.

If you head directly to Bing Maps you can take a look at the secret base, including several United States-style aircraft hangers big enough to house Predator and Reaper drones, and a number of airstrips including a larger one, apparently still under construction in the imagery, that could be used for landing larger aircraft. Google places a marker for "Umm Al Melh Border Guards Airport" in the same location, but no base can be seen in the low-resolution images, and searching for said airport reveals basically nothing.

This weekend, if you end up with some spare time, head over to Bing Maps to snoop around the base; too bad there's no Streetside view for the area, or things could have been really interesting.

Source: Wired | Bing Maps

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Obviously secret air bases are hidden from satellites. Most are disguised as a different kind of construction.

Well if it was defence project than the ariel view would have been taken down by now. Well anyways its not like the general public can go there and destroy the base. A defence structure is known secret if it is hidden from other countries satelites e.g Russia

So now all we need is for Google to start their own campaign, Microsoft hates freedom and supports the terrorists.

Seems quite worse than Google not "respecting our privacy"

FISKER_Q said,
So now all we need is for Google to start their own campaign, Microsoft hates freedom and supports the terrorists.

Don't get binged...

Now do a web search for that exact airport, or even that place, you can find barely any information about it aside from vague defense projects

so it's a military base (as the title "Guards Airport" suggests).
How much information about any military base can one find?

However - sensationalizing that to "secret US drone base" is rather daft. Specially for a magazine of the supposed caliber of wired.

Looks like a base that's under construction personally. Not much "Drone" stuff going on. No WSA's or any other support buildings for a "Drone" support yet.

If you continue to follow it diagonal down and to the left until it gets to the pink bit there are a load of weird bobbly bits?

Looks a bit like hundreds of camouflaged tents?

I think the best way to handle this is to accuse Bing of rape and try and have it extradited as a matter of national security.

where's the runway? that thing that looks like one isn't one, its covered with structures all the way down it... it looks like an old base that has stuff laying all over the old runways

If you look closely it appears to be large concrete slabs placed to form the foundation of the strip - that's the one under construction

Who does Microsoft thing they are. This is a matter of National Security. I think they have violated it.

Clearly this wasn't deliberate. I would imagine that the images are supposed to be redacted by intelligence agencies before being passed to third parties like Microsoft, and that didn't happen. Checking these kinds of images is a massive process, and Microsoft couldn't reasonably be expected to know there was a secret base visible in them.

USA wouldn't had the need to build bases and spend billions of dollars in warfare if it wouldn't ****ed it up in the last 60 years in foreing policy

How could Microsoft have known it was there if it was a secret in the first place? Aerial imagery satellites are just programmed to take photos - the hardware won't know it's a secret base - it has no intelligence whatsoever!

How dare they take a picture of my house without my permission. Then again, I can look at everyone else's, so it cancels out in the end.

erikpienk said,
USA wouldn't had the need to build bases and spend billions of dollars in warfare if it wouldn't ****ed it up in the last 60 years in foreing policy

You seem well educated on the subject.