By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Inside Pine Gap: The Spy Who Came in from the Desert
By David Rosenberg (Hardie Grant, $35.00, softcover, 216 pages)
An ostensibly impenetrable wall of government secrecy has protected the joint US-Australian intelligence facility, known officially as the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap, for more than 41 years.
Here’s a fascinating glimpse, without malicious revelations, inside the top-secret world of military surveillance.
Granted the highest level of US Government security clearance, US hi-tech spy David Rosenberg worked within the operational ‘nerve centre’ of Pine Gap for 18 years, on behalf of the National Security Agency (NSA).
He was responsible for identifying, analysing and reporting the military capabilities of countries that posed potential threats to the US and Australia, gaining a highly classified insight into the intelligence concerns surrounding the proliferation of weapons development and testing around the world from 1990 to 2008.
Inside Pine Gap sheds light on Pine Gap’s role in the intelligence assessment of Afghanistan’s weapons systems and communication networks in the lead-up to the US-led bombing campaign in 2001. It also discusses the monitoring of nuclear and missile developments in North Korea, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the inspired intelligence efforts placed on the pursuit of Osama Bin Laden following 9/11.
Rosenberg (an American-born 23-year NSA veteran) describes - sometimes with insufficient detail - searching for weapons systems before and during both American wars in Iraq, scanning for rebel leaders in Somalia, intercepting Serbian leaders’ communications during the 1998 Kosovo conflict and monitoring North Korea’s emergent nuclear facilities.
His compelling journey tells of the facility’s central intelligence role in the transitions of three US presidencies, four Australian Prime Ministers and international conflicts spanning the end of the Cold War and war in the Balkans.
This is a revealing book, describing not only Pine Gap’s “general intelligence-gathering functions”, but also the role it plays in “support of military operations”. It’s about an “extraordinary partnership” that exists at Pine Gap between Australia and the US governments and the success of the operational achievements.
“It is a subject redolent of mystery and secrecy”.
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.