NSA satellites?

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poltergeisty

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I heard many years ago that the NSA or CIA had satellites that could pick up two way radios on the ground. I believe this is why Osama went with human couriers. Does anyone know if there is truth to this rumor? I would like to learn about these sats and know what their capabilities are.
 

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American Geosynchronous SIGINT Satellites


The Spook Bird satellites developed by TRW under contract to the USAF were intended to monitor the radio communications of command posts and the staffs of higher-echelon commands in the Soviet armed forces, most importantly those of the strategic rocket forces, the powerful missiles of which evoked the most worry in the American leadership. The satellites had 3-meter intercept antennas which were deployed in space. Launch into geosynchronous orbit was accomplished with an Atlas-Agena rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.


The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency - Matthew M. Aid - Google Books
 

poltergeisty

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I was wondering what the frequency range was that these birds could hear and my assumption was that if it can penetrate the ionosphere then they could grab it. Apparently to foreign press the frequency range is 100 MHz to 25 GHz.

I'm going to buy that book. Looks very interesting and informative.
 

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I figure it's pretty much any range and they probably have crazy high end SDR stuff up there now backfeeding the data to ground stations. What I don't understand is how they would pull on signal out of a million overlapping. I suppose if it's microwave and they can use directional antennas it helps quite a bit or listening to a Hadji in A Stan on a Vhf walkie probably isn't that bad due to not much else going on in that region. But, trying to pull something out of a crowded band over the US or other populated area must be nearly impossible. It's interesting to think about that's for sure.

Wouldn't you just love to get a peek behind the curtain. I bet we would both pass out overwhelmed with RF ecstacy.
 

poltergeisty

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Wouldn't you just love to get a peek behind the curtain. I bet we would both pass out overwhelmed with RF ecstacy.

With a black budget rumored to be 10 billion I bet they have some impressive stuff. I was wondering how they can pick up a lone transmitter. I wonder if they know the location of number stations. I'm now wondering if my WIFI is secure enough. :lol: I only set it to 50 mW and use a 64 digit AES key.
 

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I would think they have every number station mapped out to the mm. I've been playing with the HackRF some more. 20 MHz chews up about a Gig of data every 10 seconds. It starts to make a-lot of sense why there is that huge data center if they are recording IQ RF data. I bet the real deal is unimaginable.
 

zz0468

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Maybe if you do a search on the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), you might find more of what you're looking for. They are the folks who have the orbital intelligence assets. Back in the 70's they had the Rhyolite series satellites that had 60 foot dishes. At 4 GHz, where most long distance telephone traffic was carried, that 60' dish has about 53 db of gain, and a half-beamwidth of about a tenth of a degree. I expect they could aim it at whatever they wanted to aim it at.

Photos of SIGINT satellites that I've seen show large reflectors with multiple feedhorns, and various log-periodic antennas and smaller dishes and whips. They look like they have "DC-daylight" capability..

Back when most long distance calls were carried by microwave, the various telephone networks across the globe were wide open. Even I did some microwave snooping back in the 80's, so I expect NRO/NSA capabilities were several orders of magnitude more interesting than what I was able to pluck out. If I could do it, they were doing it MUCH better!

You're not going to find much about current capabilities, but plan on the state of the art being 15-20 years, or more) ahead of the best we know about. The spacecraft of the 60's and 70's were using surface mount component construction a decade or more before we got our hands on it. With cryogenically cooled receiver front ends, there's no reason I can think of why they wouldn't have the capability to receive your little 50 mw WiFi signal.

The locations of NSA/NRO ground stations are Google searchable, and visible on Google Earth. The aerial views don't tell you much other than they look like busy places with LOTS of big antennas.

NRO has a very interesting public web page, as does the NSA. Both seem to be proud of their history, and post declassified histories on past projects.
 
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ff-medic

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I was wondering what the frequency range was that these birds could hear and my assumption was that if it can penetrate the ionosphere then they could grab it. Apparently to foreign press the frequency range is 100 MHz to 25 GHz.

I'm going to buy that book. Looks very interesting and informative.

Example = Naval Ocean Surveillance System - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Satellite Tracker = NOSS 2-1 (C) - Orbit

Satellite Passes = Daily predictions for brighter satellites

Amateur Radio Satellite Passes = Amateur Radio Satellites - All Passes

I set in my back yard on some evenings and look straight up, towards the horizon, and up at a 45 degree angle. Some satellite passes are hard to see, some are very easy to see. Some are readily recognizable as they travel fast and stand out. Some are hard to recognize as they travel slow. The "NOSS" satellite I seen just very recently, to the east of my house at about a 60 to 70 degree angle. Just like watching a car drive by, then a large flash of light from the suns reflection in the windshield....I seen a huge bright reflection off of the satellite.

Out in my back yard, looking up at the stars ( I am a "hick" anyway, and like the night stars and moon ) is very relaxing to me, and enjoying to watch satellite. "Heavens-Above.com" I can look for satellite passes by reading the info on that website. I would just assume set and "look for" and "Search" with my eyes, in an attempt to locate. I have have just started recently documenting satellite passes on my "I - Phone". After documenting the passes, I research the satellite to see what it is. I have US Navy intel satellite documented - Russia Signal Intelligence satellites documented - Russian navigation satellites documented.

Relaxing to set in the back yard and look for satellite passes. I have seen them as much as 90 degrees ( straight up ) above my residence. Again, some are noticable and some are not. Some are watched for 30 seconds or more, or as brief as 5 seconds.


I was wondering what the frequency range was that these birds could hear and my assumption was that if it can penetrate the ionosphere then they could grab it.

"Penetrate the Ionosphere " as you say.

The Corpus - Sarsat Search and Rescue operate off of UHF frequencies ( ??? 406.025 Mhz and others ). They, as I believe are transmitters that broadcast at about 5 to 7 watts. So if a Corpus "SAR" satellite can "suck up" a 5 to 7 watt beacon transmission - and mark its location, I am sure a " Government Intel" satellite can abosorb a 35, 100 , 150 watt ( or more ) radio transmission. I would be almost certain if you were hunting and talking on your MURS / FRS radio......if "A government" wanted to listen to you....they could.


Research the Corpus - Sarsat search and rescue transmitters ( beacons ) and satellites.

If you type on it, talk on it, if it has an antenna and "transmits", it can be monitored / tracked / listened to. This is not counting the countless other "electronics" that "radiate". But that is another * Intel Tidbit *

Some things are much to sensitive / secret ...... to discuss. Like the "Old timer" said in the movie "Fire Down Below" = "Never tip your hand to early in the game......your bound to loose".

Steven Seagal - " Thats good advice, thats good advice". ( the old timer STILL did not know everything that was in Seagals head )

VERY few things can be kept secret. VERY few people understand and know what confidential - sensitive and secret information is, and / or.....how to handle that information. Where I come from.....TRUST is everything. AGAIN - trust is hard to get, but easy to destroy.

THERE are US Military Units ( every branch ) that are dedicated to signals / communications intelligence, and although it is no big secret based on past news reports and media broadcasts...I WILL NOT post that info here.

There are satellites that can read a license plate. There are satellites that can listen in to "radio" broadcasts / conversations.

Your voice can be listened to "from a distance" , from your voice " bouncing off of " and "reflecting" off of " glass , if the right equipment is used.

This winter when it gets cold and dreary......make yourself a cappicino, set at your computer and research satellites. It could very well be interesting and informative.

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Typical rescue beacon radios transmit a 5 watt signal for 0.5 second once every 50 seconds. Most of these terminals sold since 1997 include a GPS receiver so they can report precise GPS lat-lon location.
The "406 MHz" distress radiobeacon band is 100 kHz wide and centered at 406.05 MHz. Individual beacons transmit in assigned 3 kHz channels.
---------> International Cospas-Sarsat Programme - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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After a light plane with two U.S. congressmen on board went down in 1972 and could not be found,[6] the U.S. began requiring all aircraft to carry an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) that would turn on automatically in the event of a crash. Initially these units sent beacon signals on the 121.5 MHz aircraft emergency frequency. These are being phased out in favor of rescue beacons that use a 406.025 MHz signal, which can be picked up by the Cospas-Sarsat international satellite system for search and rescue. Each 406 MHz beacon has a unique digital ID code. Users are required to register the code with the Cospas-Sarsat, allowing inquiries to be made when a distress signal is picked up. Some advanced models can transmit a location derived from an internal GPS or GLONASS receiver.
---------------> Survival radio - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



https://directory.eoportal.org/web/eoportal/satellite-missions/c-missions/cospas-sarsat



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ff-medic

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With a black budget rumored to be 10 billion...

I do not believe that 10 billion would even come close.

To design and build existing satellites, financing current satellites, improvements, salarys, research and devolopment, aquiring additional materials and items, infrastructure(s), buildings and warehouses, secret / clandestine locations, monies spent on "Outside support" ( Other US Agencies + military ) ......10 billion would not be a drop in the bottiom of the cup.

10 billion....YES, Most definately is alot of money. But not enough for a "Black Budget" / "Black Bag" agency.

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ff-medic

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I believe this is why Osama went with human couriers. Does anyone know if there is truth to this rumor?


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I just remembered this prior event ( Sat Phone - Media )



The September 11 commission falsely singled out The Washington Times for damaging an intelligence operation by disclosing in 1998 that Osama bin Laden used a satellite phone, even though his means of communication had been widely reported beforehand, including by CNN, CBS and Time.

The issue arose at President Bush’s press conference Monday. Mr. Bush criticized an unnamed newspaper for reporting what type of telephone bin Laden was using in 1998, when he was being tracked by the CIA.
--------------------------------------> http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2005/dec/21/20051221-121117-9232r/?page=all



The president of the United States, the 9/11 commission, and Slate contributor Daniel Benjamin have all blamed the Washington Times for publishing a "leak" in an Aug. 21, 1998, story they believe damaged U.S. security. The Washington Times story, "Terrorist Is Driven By Hatred for U.S., Israel," purportedly alerted Osama Bin Laden to the fact that the United States knew about his satellite phone use, and by doing so diminished the capacity to monitor him.
----------------------> Don't blame the Times for the satphone "leak."



As an example of the damage caused by unauthorized disclosures to reporters, President Bush said at his news conference on Monday that Osama bin Laden had been tipped by a leak that the United States was tracking his location through his telephone. After this information was published, Mr. Bush said, Mr. bin Laden stopped using the phone.

The president was apparently referring to an article in The Washington Times in August 1998.
------------------------------------>http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/20/politics/20fact.html?_r=0




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ff-medic

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Excetera :

A defense contractor and former U.S. Army officer has been charged with communicating national defense secrets to a 27-year-old Chinese national with whom he had a romantic relationship.

According to a criminal complaint unsealed in federal court Monday in Hawaii, Benjamin Pierce Bishop, 59, who held a top secret clearance, transmitted "national defense information regarding existing war plans, information regarding nuclear weapons, and relations with international partners," to an email address known to be used by the woman referred to as "Person 1."


----------> Defense Contractor Allegedly Compromises Nuclear Secrets to Chinese National in Possible 'Honey Trap' - ABC News


Hummmm - Chinese has started using the Russians tactic ( Predominent Intel Agencies - GRU & FSB using women for intel collection ) of using women ( Sex ) for classified intel informaition. If you visit Moscow....and you are a tourist....ESPECIALLY an American Tourist. Significant chances are that your Motel / Hotel room is bugged. If you fly on "Aeroflot"....more than likely your conversation is being recorded.


More Chinese Operations :

In May 19, 2014 the U.S. Department of Justice announced that a Federal Grand Jury had returned an indictment of five officers of the People's Liberation Army on charges of theft of confidential business information and intellectual property from U.S. commercial firms and of planting malware on their computers.
----------------------> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_intelligence_operations_in_the_United_States


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The U.S. has finally charged former Booz Allen employee Edward Snowden with espionage for leaking U.S. intelligence documents and secrets.

Snowden Gives U.S. Secrets To Chinese - Business Insider

I wonder, as I did not hear. Was.....WAS Edward Snowden approached while working at Booz Allen, by an individual asking Mr.Snowden to "commit espionage"? A Foreign Agent, or an "Agent" period...whom worked at Booz Allen, but did not have clearance?

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Hanssen was arrested on February 18, 2001 at Foxstone Park[2] near his home in Vienna, Virginia, and was charged with selling US secrets to the USSR and subsequently Russia for more than US$1.4 million in cash and diamonds over a 22-year period.
----------------> Robert Hanssen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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On February 22, 1994, Ames and his wife were formally charged by the United States Department of Justice with spying for the Soviet Union and Russia. Ames's betrayal resulted in the deaths of a number of CIA assets.[34] He pleaded guilty on April 28 and received a sentence of life imprisonment. His wife received a five-year prison sentence for tax evasion and conspiracy to commit espionage as part of a plea bargain by Ames.
-----------------------------> Aldrich Ames - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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Other agents in place in the U.S. government or military who worked as moles for either the KGB or the SVR, include:

James Hall III — An Army warrant officer and intelligence analyst in Germany who sold eavesdropping and code secrets to East Germany and the Soviet Union from 1983 to 1988.

Robert Hanssen — Arrested for spying for the Soviet Union and Russia for more than 15 of his 27 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Earl Edwin Pitts — An FBI agent charged with providing Top Secret documents to the Soviet Union and then Russia from 1987 until 1992.

Harold James Nicholson — A senior-ranking Central Intelligence Agency officer arrested while attempting to take Top Secret documents out of the country. He began spying for Russia in 1994.

George Trofimoff — A then-retired Army Reserve colonel, charged in June 2000 of spying for the KGB and the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (or SVR) for over 25 years.

William Kampiles — A CIA clerk who sold a KH-11 spy satellite manual to the Soviet Union.

David Henry Barnett — A CIA officer convicted of spying for the Soviet Union in 1980. He volunteered to spy in 1976.

John Anthony Walker — A Navy Warrant Officer convicted of providing massive amounts of classified information to the USSR during his Naval career. Several members of his family were involved in his spying activities as well.
---------------------> Aldrich Ames - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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Montes eventually pleaded guilty to spying and in October 2002, was sentenced to a 25-year prison term followed by five years probation.

------------------------> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ana_Montes#Espionage


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The United States government has concluded that a new leaker has been supplying members of the media with classified documents, CNN reported on Tuesday.
--------------------------> http://rt.com/usa/178232-us-national-security-leaker-snowden/


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Some people think "Sleepers" are a joke :

The Illegals Program, as it was called by the United States Department of Justice, was a network of Russian sleeper agents under non-official cover whose investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) culminated in the arrest of ten agents and a prisoner swap between Russia and the United States on July 9, 2010.

The spies were planted in the United States by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (known by its Russian abbreviation, SVR). Posing as ordinary American citizens, they tried to build contacts with academics, industrialists, and policymakers to gain access to intelligence.
--------------------------> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegals_Program


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FBI Surveillance Video : Anna Chapman ( Russian Spy ) ---->https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PIAULWEgms

P.S. - Take notice of the large "BUG" sunglasses to help hide / conceal her identity. You can hide the eyes --- but the nose, jaw, cheeks ( real pronounced ), forehead (Sometimes), and the chin are still a good give away......or can be "matched" up later.


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ABC News - Russian Spys --------> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIlr_HXTvJg



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eorange

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The "NOSS" satellite I seen just very recently, to the east of my house at about a 60 to 70 degree angle. Just like watching a car drive by, then a large flash of light from the suns reflection in the windshield....I seen a huge bright reflection off of the satellite.
That sounds more like an Iridium flare, but I know there are other sats that flare. At least up here where it's total light pollution...I have yet to see a NOSS sat, due to their magnitudes being higher than 4.0.
 

ff-medic

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That sounds more like an Iridium flare, but I know there are other sats that flare. At least up here where it's total light pollution...I have yet to see a NOSS sat, due to their magnitudes being higher than 4.0.
I sat in my backyard last night and seen three more satellites. Unless the information on the website ( heavens - above.com ) is wrong, I don't beleive it was a Iridium flare ( Iridium satellite ).

Based on degrees above my location and time of pass, there was one satellite I could not match up to the heavens-above.com data base.

Still interesting though. Imagine all the stationary ( geo-stationary ) satellites that we think are stars. Hmmmmm. That makes you think huh.


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SCPD

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Interesting thread.... funny that I knew one of the spies mentioned here. James Hall III was stationed in Berlin the same time I was. We both had the same MOS, then it was 05K later changed by the Army to 98K and currently it's 35S. He was assigned to the "Search Tower" and I was assigned to it's little brother, Subsystem G. I was totally shocked when I heard about his arrest... I think he was assigned to the Guardrail mission at Hunter AAF in Savannah, GA when he was caught. I was stationed at Field Station Kunia when I heard about it.

Anyway, to add to the speculations about the NSA satellites. We're talking about a premiere government agency that has their hands on ANYTHING that is transmitted over the R.F. spectrum. Their encryption systems are second to none so "hearing" the up/down links are going to be futile. And, I don't believe there is any off the shelf equipment that could be used to intercept those links anyway. Those sats are their bread and butter, so to speak, and are VERY secure. There are encryption systems out there that you could never imagine.
 

ff-medic

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Interesting thread....
Thanks.



And, I don't believe there is any off the shelf equipment that could be used to intercept those links anyway. Those sats are their bread and butter, so to speak, and are VERY secure. There are encryption systems out there that you could never imagine.
Not including data burst ( type message then hit send - sending the message in less than a second ), and double, if not triple encryption.

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902

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ff-medic, thank you for the intriguing reading material. Several decades ago I went to a June VHF contest at an Upstate NY mountaintop with a group of friends. I camped out up there (for me, that was basically sleeping in my truck) and looked up to see the stars I couldn't normally see because of the light pollution back home near NYC. I looked up, and saw stuff moving! Someone explained to me that those were probably satellites. I had no idea it was possible to see them at the time.

There are a number of capture technologies out there. Here's a terrestrial mass-ingest system that allows for post-processing: LS telcom: Overview

I suppose the take-away is that people do listen for various reasons - with various modes and approaches. Like the Internet, once you put something "out there," it's out there for ever and impossible to take back.
 

ff-medic

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....funny that I knew one of the spies mentioned here. James Hall III was stationed in Berlin the same time.....
Yeah. Underlying motives, the need for "James Bond" activity and intrigue. Alot of the times it is snitches, "rats", and "Front Door salesman ( espionage / treason info ) . I am not meaning to be degrading, or malicious in my colorful terms, but in todays society tha tis what they are.


I believe that sometimes it is monetarily motivated. But in other instances, it is someone wanting to be covert and meet another spy. The excitement of playing covert agent, which after a time gets boring, routine, monotonous, and takes a toll on the mind and psyche. But one of the good things is......once some traits / activities become habit - they are simply second nature ( ex - checking mirrors in vehicle constantly , disecting events and conversations , practicing personal security, take one way in a building and another way out, hands in pockets = on small pistol, knife, pen...ect )

"Dead Drops" , checking for mirrors ( stopping outside on a sidewalk and checking for people following you in the reflection of a store window ) , covert messages on phone - text messaging - email, are all exciting to some people ; in their otherwise dreary and unexciteable life. Bad thing is, is if you commit espionage / treasaon because you do not have enough excitement in your life = FBI Counter - Intelligence will arrest you, and a judge will lock you up for decades.

Money is a good motivator, and yes sometimes it motivates someone to commit crimes against their country. My belief is that in most instances....it is someone wanting excitement, to play spy, and to use the money to do something exoctic ( travel to Aruba - Spain - Paris ) with their money...cause that is where "Spys" go.

Some are really stupid and get "turned in" by the people / agency / government that they are spying for.

I have heard quite a few spy stories where a government employee , and / or military personnel were turned in to the FBI by the foreign government ( or foreign embassy ) that was approached. It happens.

No planning. No research. No connections to foreign agents. Some pay handsomely, and some will turn you right over to the FBI cause you brought them "junk" information, or they seen you as an idiot right off the bat. OR, you ticked them off for some reason during the whole espionage thing....and in the end, they turned you in to be incarcerated for 40 or 50 years.

I always seen espionage / treason ......as putting a bullet in the back of the head ; of one of my military colleagues - killing innocent men, women and children - taking money from hard working / and or poor Americans, degrading American financially...damaging our communitys, infrastructure, and economy.

Next to harming children, espionage / treason is one of the crimes I really hate.

If you commit treason / espionage ; one should be "locked up" for 40 years.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Hall_III ------> A decent read. But he was one ignorant spy.


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ff-medic

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Like the Internet, once you put something "out there," it's out there for ever.
Not forever. Just this morning I tryed to get a video that I had linked in a saved email in 2001. It is gone.

I searched for a Toby Keith Military video......it is gone ; OR I could not find it.

Previously, I have searched for previous theads I posted ( MIlitary.Com ) and even here on RR, and they were not retrievable, and I did not find them in the cache.

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