Google vs national security

Military leaders and other government officials are said to be concerned about the quality of images in Google Earth.

How good is Google Earth? Good enough to concern  military leaders in Iraq and homeland security officials here that terrorists could use the high-quality images to plan attacks on US interests, notes Washington Post columnist Al Kamen.

Kamen notes:

U.S. military officers in Iraq -- and national security officials in other countries -- are said to be especially concerned with Google Earth, which provides stunning satellite images of everywhere on the globe. The fear is that terrorists and Iraqi insurgents could use the images to help plot attacks.

Google, however, has noted that the images are easily found from commercial sources. Its Google Maps site has blurred images of high-value targets, such as the White House and the Capitol grounds.

But Google Earth still provides detailed images of the White House.

And senior administration officials privately have expressed increased alarm in recent days that bad guys can use Google Earth to get too close a look at the White House or at the Crawford, Tex., ranch where President Bush vacations. The image quality is so good viewers could even monitor the progress of Bush's War on Brush.