Opinion

China groped us

Photo of Chet Nagle
Chet Nagle
Former CIA Agent
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      Chet Nagle

      Naval Academy graduate and Cold War carrier pilot, Chet Nagle flew in the Cuban Missile Crisis. After a stint as a navy research officer, he joined International Security Affairs as a Pentagon civilian -- then came defense and intelligence work, life abroad for 12 years as an agent for the CIA, and extensive time in Iran, Oman, and many other countries. Along the way, he graduated from the Georgetown University Law School and was the founding publisher of a geo-political magazine, The Journal of Defense & Diplomacy, read in over 20 countries and with a circulation of 26,000. At the end of his work in the Middle East, he was awarded the Order of Oman in that allied nation’s victory over communist Yemen; now, he writes and consults. He and his wife Dorothy live in Virginia.

A Los Angeles woman, traveling by air the day before Thanksgiving, did not want radiation from an airport full-body scanner; she also did not want TSA goons to grope her. So she wore a revealing bikini and avoided both radiation and groping. The Obama White House is not nearly so clever.  China groped the missile defenses of our homeland and President Obama said and did nothing. No one noticed. Well, almost no one.

On November 8th, a KCBS-TV news helicopter filmed a missile launched a few miles off the California coast! The video shows a smoke plume rising from the ocean just north of Catalina Island, well inside US territorial waters, heading west over the Pacific Ocean. No one has claimed the mystery missile. No one has said why or how it was done. So let us examine some facts and make a reasonable guess.

Experts agree the missile was large, as big as an intercontinental ballistic missile — an ICBM. It is not possible for an amateur rocket club to launch such a rocket from Catalina Island without being seen. No ships were on the surface. No rockets were launched from American bases in California. The U.S. Navy says none of our subs did it. And if you insist the plume is an aircraft contrail, remember there were no airliners in the area at the exact time and place.

An accidental launch? In reality, unlike in Hollywood, there is no “red button” that launches an ICBM. Two keys must be simultaneously turned, and several other steps taken, before the missile can be fired. A secret test? The Pentagon denies it. And besides, aviators and sailors are always warned of the time, path, and impact point of rockets that might endanger them. All nations make such announcements well in advance.

Could the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), our global ICBM monitoring system, have detected the launch of an ICBM so extremely close to our coast?

NORAD has made no public statement, but retired Air Force Brigadier Jim Cash posted a comment on the Catalina Island launch. General Cash was a command director and the assistant director of operations for NORAD. He states the NORAD system is manned by 150 highly trained people 24/7, and can detect a missile shot “from any point on the globe.” If the missile looks threatening, the president is immediately notified by the officer always near him who carries the “football,” a brief case containing the launch codes for our nuclear forces.

Brigadier Cash states that “there is absolutely no doubt” the video shows a missile launch near California, that it would have been detected by NORAD, and that the president was told about it. A subsequent decision to notify the public could only be made by the president. Nothing was said. Why?

The plume shown in the video was likely from an ICBM launched from a Chinese Type 092 Jin-class ballistic missile submarine. (Russian subs can also fire such missiles, but Moscow is panting for the Senate to ratify the START treaty, so why risk scaring the senators?)

Did our anti-submarine warfare (ASW) systems know the Jin was there? Was it tracked across the Pacific? No, the old SOSUS hydrophones are no longer manned and maintained by Navy ASW experts. The SOSUS sound arrays that have not been destroyed are now sometimes used by scientists to track whales. So Defense Secretary Robert Gates simply could not know a Chinese submarine was in U.S. waters — or if it is still there.

  • Mirdad

    Right. Of course. China. Because it happened off the coast of California. Makes perfect sense.

    “It was, most certainly, despite any denials and claims from the Navy, a US Navy missile, probably being fired as part of an interesting ongoing exercise.”

    434/10(18). EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC. CALIFORNIA. MISSILES. 1. INTERMITTENT MISSILE FIRING OPERATIONS 0001Z TO 2359Z DAILY MONDAY THRU SUNDAY IN THE NAVAL AIR WARFARE CENTER SEA RANGE.

    “This is almost certainly part of an exercise underway with the Japanese Navy.
    Last week a missile fired from Kauai was intercepted by a Japanese ABM ship,
    successfully, according to reports.”

    http://scienceblogs.com/catdynamics/2010/11/missile_firing_off_la.php