(AMP) - A spy satellite image of Antarctica reveals an "anomaly" two
miles beneath the ice that could be a man-made structure, according to
Congressional investigators who are demanding release of the image from
The explosive revelation about the anomaly, located at the epicenter of recent seismic activity
in East Antarctica, prompted an immediate denial from the Defense
Department and feverish speculation among members of the international
intelligence and archeological communities.
"If it's something the U.S. military has constructed down there, then they're violating the international Antarctic Treaty,"
said an aide to Nicole Fontaine, the European Parliament's French
president who in the past has accused the U.S. of spying on European
citizens. "If not, then it's something that's at least 12,000 years
old, which is how long ice has covered Antarctica. That would make it
the oldest man-made structure on the planet. The Pentagon should heed
the calls of Congress and release whatever it's hiding."
The existence of the classified satellite image
was reported this week by an unidentified federal agent who infiltrated
the Pentagon last year during a General Accounting Office audit of lax
security at 19 government installations. The sting operation, in which
federal investigators carrying fake law enforcement credentials
penetrated the FBI, CIA and State Department, was similar to one
several years ago that embarrassed the Clinton Administration and
prompted the hearings on Capitol Hill.
The image may have been captured by one of three missing U.S. spy satellites that space observers suspect have been moved into secret orbits over Antarctica to avoid detection.
if history is any indicator, Congress will have to wait some time to
catch a glimpse of any images captured by the satellites. It was only
in 1999 that former President Bill Clinton decided to finally release
Cold War spy satellite images of Antarctica to help scientists gauge
the effects of the depleted ozone layer and global warming on the polar
Christchurch, New Zealand, the main staging post for Antarctic
expeditions, Clinton announced that the U.S. National Imagery and
Mapping Agency was releasing seven previously classified Cold War
images of Antarctica. The digital images, taken in the mid-1970s and
early 1980s, provide detailed snapshots of the Dry Valleys region, a
vast terrain of about 7,500 square miles shrouded in darkness for much
of the year.
the time, Clinton ignored questions about a secret American military
installation in Antarctica, making a plea for the world to grapple with
global warming and the fragility of the South Pole. "Unless we change
course, most scientists believe the seas will rise so high they will
swallow whole islands and coastal areas," he told several hundred
people at New Zealand's International Antarctic Centre.
Bush Administration, meanwhile, has refused to comment on the latest
revelations and said it would not release any recent satellite
overheads of Antarctica, citing "national security" concerns.