The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Pentagon have been waging a campaign to prevent a major Russian space agency from building what they perceive to be spying structures on US soil, a report says.
American intelligence and military officials have been calling on the State Department to stop allowing Roscosmos to build �œmonitor stations” on US soil for fears they could help Russia spy on the United States, The New York Times said, citing several American officials.
Moscow rejects the structures have anything to do with surveillance operations, contending they are designed to improve the accuracy of Russia�™s version of the Global Positioning System (GPS), the American satellite network that steers guided missiles to their targets and helps passengers with navigation.
�œThey don�™t want to be reliant on the American system and believe that their systems, like GPS, will spawn other industries and applications,” said a former senior official in the State Department�™s Office of Space and Advanced Technology.
The relations between Russia and the United States took a severe hit in August when Moscow granted temporary asylum to American fugitive Edward Snowden who disclosed Washington�™s global surveillance programs.
Permitting Russia to build the monitor stations on US soil would help the State Department mend strained ties with the government of President Vladimir V. Putin.
But the CIA and other American spy agencies, as well as the Pentagon, suspect that the monitor stations would improve the accuracy of Moscow�™s satellite-steered weapons and could also give the Russians the ability to spy on the United States within its borders.
The disagreements have caused administration officials to delay a final decision until Moscow provides more information, State Department and White House officials said.
Russia�™s global positioning network – known as Glonass, for Global Navigation Satellite System – has also been met with deep suspicion on Capitol Hill.
�œI would like to understand why the United States would be interested in enabling a GPS competitor, like Russian Glonass, when the world�™s reliance on GPS is a clear advantage to the United States on multiple levels,” said Representative Mike D. Rogers, the chairman of a House Armed Services subcommittee.
Russia positioned a monitor station in Brazil Earlier this year, and agreements with Spain, Indonesia and Australia are expected soon, according to Russian news reports.
Other countries including China and some US allies in the European Union are also challenging the dominance of the American GPS and seek their own global positioning systems.
Source: Press TV