Predator Drones Provide Lots of Intelligence, Lots of Casualties

In Pakistan and Afghanistan on January 11, 2010 at 10:43 am

Candid camera for Iraqis, Pakistanis and Afghans:

US remote-controlled spy drones used over Afghanistan and Iraq are producing so much video intelligence that analysts are finding it more and more difficult to keep up with it, The New York Times reported.The newspaper said the Air Force drones collected nearly three times as much video over Afghanistan and Iraq last year as in 2007 — about 24 years? worth if watched continuously.

That volume is expected to multiply in the coming years as drones are added to the fleet and as some start using multiple cameras to shoot in many directions, the report said.

A group of young analysts already watches every second of the footage live as it is streamed to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia and to other intelligence centers, and they quickly pass warnings about insurgents and roadside bombs to troops in the field, according to the paper.

But military officials also see much potential in using the archives of video collected by the drones for later analysis, like searching for patterns of insurgent activity over time, The Times said.

To date, only a small fraction of the stored video has been retrieved for such intelligence purposes, the paper said.

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