Ex-CIA analyst finds mysterious Chinese complex on Google Earth

Late last month, former CIA analyst Allen Thomson was clicking through a space news website when he noticed a story about a new orbital tracking site being built near the small city of Kashgar in southwestern China. Curious, he went to Google Earth to find it. He poked around for a while, with no luck. Then he came across something kind of weird.

Thomson, who served in the CIA from 1972 to 1985 and as a consultant to the National Intelligence Council until 1996, has made something of a second career finding odd stuff in public satellite imagery. He discovered these giant grids etched into the Chinese desert in 2011, and a suspected underground missile bunker in Iran in 2008. When the Israeli Air Force destroyed a mysterious facility in Syria the year before, Thomson put together an 812-page dossier on the so-called “Box on the Euphrates.” Old analyst habits die hard, it seems.

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