Intelligence: May 29, 2001

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The Pentagon has confirmed that two vital documents on board the EP-3E recon plane were probably not destroyed in the frantic moments between the collision and the emergency landing. One of these is the Electronic Order of Battle for China, listing all known Chinese radars and military communication channels, their frequencies and operating characteristics, and what to look for when examining their signals. The other was the Technical Extraction of Traffic Analysis, which is the operations manual for listening in on Chinese signals. Together, they tell China just about everything the US knows about its radars, air defense networks, missile control systems, and military communications, along with how the US monitors them to learn more. Obviously, keeping the enemy from knowing how many of his secrets you have discovered is as vital as protecting your own secrets. In this case, the Chinese got a historic look at both sides of the equation. Using this information, they can switch frequencies, encrypt signals traffic they thought was secure, and quickly modify equipment to disguise signals. In the longer term, China will certainly move more of its communications into fiber-optic lines that spy planes cannot tap into, and design radars that can produce various signals--Stephen V Cole

 


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