Ryan Gallagher, The Intercept: NSA Blimp Spied In The United States
TO RESIDENTS OF MARYLAND, catching an occasional glimpse of a huge white blimp floating in the sky is not unusual. For more than a decade, the military has used the state as a proving ground for new airships destined for Afghanistan or Iraq. But less known is that the test flights have sometimes served a more secretive purpose involving National Security Agency surveillance.
Back in 2004, a division of the NSA called the National Tactical Integration Office fitted a 62-foot diameter airship called the Hover Hammer with an eavesdropping device, according to a classified document published Monday by The Intercept. The agency launched the three-engine airship at an airfield near Solomons Island, Maryland. And from there, the blimp was able to vacuum up “international shipping data emanating from the Long Island, New York area,” the document says. The spy equipment on the airship was called Digital Receiver Technology — a proprietary system manufactured by a Maryland-based company of the same name — which can intercept wireless communications, including cellphone calls.
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More News On Reports That The NSA Used A Blimp To Gather Information On Americans
Bulletproof NSA spy blimp that could listen in on cell phone calls 'spied on New York,' shocking leaked documents claim -- Daily Mail
Snowden document: NSA launched spy balloon test from Solomons Island -- Baltimore Sun
The Intercept publishes details on Maryland’s other surveillance blimp -- Baltimore
NSA’s ‘Hover Hammer’ Spied on ‘International’ New York Shipping Data -- Sputnik
The NSA's Eye in the Sky: Blimp Spies on Americans -- New American