Two celebrated American investigative journalists claim that the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Air Base in Mapharangwane is a spy station for the American intelligence.
The Mapharangwane spy station is reported to be run by “a super-secret organization run jointly by the CIA and the NSA, the spy agency charged with gathering signals intelligence (known as SIGINT) called the Special Collection Service.”
The organisation relies on a constellation of sophisticated SIGINT satellites with code names like Vortex, Magnum, Jumpseat, and Trumpet to sweep up the world’s satellite, microwave, cellular, and high-frequency communications and signals.
The investigative report titled “the Village Voice” which has been neutered in Wikipedia was recently published in full by WikiLeaks.
The report states that Mapharangwane Air Base is part of a cluster of global listening posts used to gatherforeign Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) for American policy-makers and military forces.
SIGINT plays a vital role in the American national security by providing America’s leaders with critical intelligence to defend the country and advance U.S. goals and alliances globally.
SIGINT is intelligence derived from electronic signals and systems used by foreign targets, such as communications systems, radars, and weapons systems. SIGINT provides a vital window for America into foreign adversaries’ capabilities, actions, and intentions.
The report states that “many people who follow the exploits of SIGINT and NSA are eager to peruse lists of secret listening posts operated by the agency and its partners around the world. While a master list probably exists somewhere in the impenetrable lair that is the NSA’s Fort Meade, Maryland, headquarters, it is assuredly stamped with one of the highest security classifications in the U.S. intelligence community.”
The report further states: “The following list is the best unclassified shot at describing the locations of the ground-based “ears” of the Puzzle Palace. It is culled from press accounts, informed experts, and books written about the NSA and its intelligence partners. It does not include the numerous listening units on naval vessels and aircraft nor those operating from U.S. and foreign embassies, consulates, and other diplomatic missions.”
Included in the list is the Mapharangwane Air Base in Molepolole. The two American investigative reporters Jason Vest and Wayne Madsen specialise in intelligence, national security and international affairs. Vest was recognized in 2002 by the American Journalism Review as the unsung hero of Washington Journalism. Madson on the other hand worked with the NSA before pursuing a career in investigative journalism.
The report quotes a former high ranking intelligence official saying the
Special Collection Service (SCS) was formed in the late 1970s after competition between the NSA’s embassy-based eavesdroppers and the CIA’s globe-trotting bugging specialists from its Division D had become counterproductive.
“Intriguingly, the only on-the-record account of the Special Collection Service has been provided not by an American but by a Canadian. Mike Frost, formerly of the Communications Security Establishment, Canada’s NSA equivalent served as deputy director of CSE’s SCS counterpart and was trained by the SCS. In a 1994 memoir, Frost describes the complexities of mounting “special collection” operations, finding ways to transport sophisticated eavesdropping equipment in diplomatic pouches without arousing suspicion, surreptitiously assembling a device without arousing suspicion in his embassy, technically troubleshooting under less than ideal conditions.
Also, he explains, finding ways to tap into a whole phone system or pull short-range signals out of the air without being obvious is clearly SCS’s portfolio. “This type of risky close surveillance is what SCS was formed to do,” he says. “When you think of NSA, you think satellites. When you think CIA, you think James Bond and microfilm. But you don’t really think of an agency whose sole purpose is to get up real close and use the best technology there is to listen and transmit. That’s SCS.”