US uses Kyrgyz base to spy, say Russians

Rossiya TV

Rossiya TV

Just as US officials entered one last round of negotiations to avert the scheduled evacuation of the Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan, Russian television has accused the US Pentagon of secretly using the base to spy on Moscow and Beijing. Government-owned Telekanal Rossiya aired during primetime last Sunday a documentary titled “Base”, which alleged that signals intelligence (SIGINT) is the Pentagon’s primary operational focus at Manas. Footage aired in the documentary showed several windowless buildings located around the perimeter of the Manas Air Base, said to contain components of a “multi-channel, multi-functional system of radio-electronic surveillance […] which controls entire Central Asia, parts of China and Siberia”. The filmmakers also alleged that the gradual transformation of the Manas Air Base into an electronic listening post took place without the consent of the Kyrgyz government. Reacting to the film, a US Pentagon official, who chose to remain anonymous, told Reuters the allegations were “ridiculous”. Interestingly, the controversial exposé was produced by Telekanal Rossiya reporter Arkady Mamontov, the same man who in 2006 caused a diplomatic row between London and Moscow by secretly filming a British intelligence operative using a fake hollow rock in downtown Moscow to retrieve gathered intelligence.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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