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The Military

How Online Clues Located North Korea's Missile-Launcher Factories 71

itwbennett writes "It all started with a parade through Pyongyang on April 15, 2012, held to commemorate the birthday of the country's founder, Kim Il Sung. At this parade, one thing had analysts buzzing: six mobile launchers carrying KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missiles. Bloggers in China quickly noted the similarities between the trucks and those used by the Chinese military, right down to the shape of the windows and the grille pattern. It's the stuff of spy thrillers. A few seconds of video, literature, a couple of memoirs and Google Earth helped locate a secret North Korean military plant — and using none of the classified tools of the intelligence trade."
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How Online Clues Located North Korea's Missile-Launcher Factories

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  • Open Source? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @01:42PM (#46219300)

    Ah, come on. Open source intelligence? What's unusual about this?

    I remember from Tom Clancy's "Clear and Present Danger" where the CIA was watching Cable News, getting lots of information from what was freely available from the likes of CNN and Fox. I also remember watching CNN reporting from Down Town Baghdad while the US was dropping bombs at the start of desert storm. Can you say instant BDA on the raid? "Yes, our power just went out! Good thing we have battery powered equipment so we can show you what's happening next to ground zero. Oh wow, Baghdad TV just went off the air too!" You know that this often happens in real life.

    What's important about this story is that the North Koreans messed up, assuming they intended to keep this development a secret. Somehow, I doubt they made a mistake, but this release was calculated, knowing that the west would figure out what's going on. They are simply too controlling.

  • Re:Oh, really? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erice ( 13380 ) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @02:54PM (#46220061) Homepage

    Note that apparently the KN-08 is a liquid-fueled ICBM, which means it is completely useless for defensive purposes (you don't store liquid fueled missiles fueled-up, you fuel them just before launch - which would take too long to allow them to be used to react to an attack), and only really useful for a first strike.

    Not necessarily. Titan II used liquid fuel and could be kept fully fueled in the silo indefinitely.

    Atlas could be fueled in 15 minutes. Late variants reduced this further but loading the kerosene in times of high tension, which could remain in the rocket for long periods, and only waiting to the last minute to load the liquid oxygen. These versions were also kept in silos so they were only vulnerable during the time needed to load the oxidizer.

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