All FSI News Commentary January 19, 2022

Meet the Nuclear Sleuths Shaking Up U.S. Spycraft

Armed with Internet connections rather than security clearances, scholars, hobbyists and conspiracy peddlers are forcing intelligence agencies to rethink how they do business.
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Yuichiro Chino via GettyImages

In 2011, a former Pentagon strategist named Phillip Karber who was teaching at Georgetown University asked his students to study the Chinese tunnel system known as the “underground great wall.” The tunnel’s existence was well-known, but its purpose was not. Karber’s students turned to commercial imagery, blogs, military journals, even a fictional Chinese television drama to get answers. They concluded the tunnels were probably being used to hide 3,000 nuclear weapons. This was an astronomical number, about 10 times higher than declassified intelligence estimates and other forecasts of China’s nuclear arsenal.

The shocking findings were featured in the Washington Post, circulated among top officials in the Pentagon, and led to a congressional hearing. They were also incorrect.

Read the rest at Politico