Secret intelligence operations to expand in Africa
The United States is expanding its secret intelligence operations across Africa, establishing a network of small air bases to spy on terrorist hideouts from borders of the Sahara to jungle terrain along the equator, according to documents and people involved with the project. At the root of the surveillance operations are small, unarmed turboprop aircraft disguised as private planes. These aircrafts are outfitted with hidden sensors that can record full-motion video, track infrared heat patterns, and vacuum up radio and cellphone signals. The planes refuel on isolated airstrips favored by African bush pilots, extending their effective flight range by thousands of miles.
The intelligence operations have intensified in recent months, due to a growing shadow war against al-Qaeda affiliates and other militant groups.