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Tethered blimps are needed [Letter]

National Security AgencyU.S. MilitaryAberdeen Proving Ground

The Baltimore Sun's recent article concerning the U.S. military's experiment of employing tethered blimps to help with "homeland security" was replete with interesting information ("Privacy advocates concerned about Aberdeen Proving Ground blimps," June 21). However, most stunning to me were the quotes from various civil liberty groups who were quick to ascribe possible nefarious tactical reasons to deploy the blimps along our East Coast. Citing previous violations of privacy by NSA eavesdropping, they completely missed or ignored the strategic implications behind the employment of radar-equipped static blimps tethered near Aberdeen Proving Grounds.

As I detailed in an article written over 12 years ago, a rogue nation or rogue terrorist group can quickly transform a tactical weapon into a strategic weapon by simply (and covertly) lashing a mobile missile launcher to the main deck of a roll-on/roll-off ship or conventional cargo or container ship. By steaming to within 150 miles of the Maryland, Delaware or New Jersey coastlines, a Scud Missile retrofitted with a small nuclear, biological or chemical device could be "bore-sighted" at large cities such as Baltimore, Washington, Wilmington, Newark and New York City. And if outfitted with even a small "High Altitude Nuclear Explosive" warhead, the gamma rays created by such a weapon would create an electromagnetic pulse that could "black out" much of the Mid-Atlantic region.

Rather than being obsessed with what our own government may or may not do to us, why not focus on what Iran, North Korea or the Taliban have promised to do. Radar-equipped tethered blimps appear to be the best answer for countering the "Scuds from the Sea" threat that I wrote about so long ago!

Thomas W. Strother, Annapolis

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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National Security AgencyU.S. MilitaryAberdeen Proving Ground
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