JFK Terrorists Used Google Earth To Plan Plot

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The good news is that the would-be terrorists targeting JFK airport weren’t all that bright. The bad news is that they’re smart enough to get their mapping information from Google Earth.

The Smoking Gun
nabs the court documents filed against the would-be plotters, who used codenames like "the chicken farm" in lieu of JFK airport, and "the gentleman" instead of the name of a leader.

"The sheik" was also used to name leader Guyanese leader Russel Defreitas.

Right. No tells there. Tight as a drum, that code. Why not codename "Ima Terrorist" or "the America hater"? 

It may have been a good idea, too, not to record their telephone conversations before the plot. A simple adherence to Chick McGee‘s "Don’t Write Anything Down" anti-evidence philosophy (usually applied to adultery) would have (God forbid) helped.

It also worked against them that there was an informant in the group, apparently prompting the recorded calls.

According to the court document, the team first tried to take video surveillance of the airport and the targeted fuel tanks. The low quality of the video then prompted the cell to turn to Google Earth for a better view of the situation.

The gentleman and the sheik wanted more pinpoint coordinates of "the chicken farm" (JFK) and its fuel tanks to better "minimize the killing of innocent people" like women and children. Because, obviously, the men in the area had hurt them directly.
One of the recorded conversations had this nugget:

"On the chicken farm, I downloaded Google Earth and we’ve got the print of the chicken farm from the air. But the sheikh [Defreitas] would like know if it is needed – if anything else – or if you are satisfied with that."

That would do it, other than finding out the distance between the street and the fuel tanks, by using the prints they had on hand – because, you know, there may be "innocent people" between the street and the tanks.

The air traffic control tower was also identified and measured using Google Earth, as disabling the tower – where the not "innocent" security staff would be stationed.

While useful to those who mean no harm, Google Earth has been a real thorn in the side of officials looking to keep us safe. Numerous countries have complained about the sensitive areas detailed on Google’s satellite imagery.

In some cases, like with the White House, Google has been obliged to block out images. It may be time for Google to take a serious look at what can be found via its Earth program, and consider removing or blocking views of airports, oil refineries, or other targets.

Or they could just wait until these jerks start wising up. But something tells me that’s a bad idea. 


JFK Terrorists Used Google Earth To Plan Plot
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