12 January 2001
From: "Robert Windrem" <email@example.com>
Subject: Rosman's NSA role
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2001 08:35:41 -0500
I am a producer for NBC Nightly News in New York. In 1986, I spent
several days in Rosman and nearby Asheville researching Rosman and shooting
it from the ground and the air. The ground level shooting was mostly
fruitless, but I still have video I shot from a helicopter.
At the time, Rosman had 14 dishes in a bowl-like area in Pisgah. It
was quite secret as the Sun notes. However, the FAA never instituted
any restrictions over the site, as it did with other sites.
We included it in a two part series we did in 1986 called "The Eavesdropping
War" -- NBC having refused to kill the story, as requested by then-NSA director
William Odom. Odom threatened legal action if we ran the
piece. They are particularly concerned about Rosman.
We determined that Rosman had several missions.
One was intercepting communications from Soviet geosynchronous satellites,
the Gorizont and Raduga. We were told interception had two values:
1. the satellites were used to communicate with Russian forces in Cuba and
2. they were also used to communicate with Soviet SS-20 sites in Europe...several
of which were in East Germany. The farthest Raduga, as I recall, was at 14
degrees west, putting it in range of both Rosman and East Germany.
It should be noted that Rosman is almost due north of the old Soviet headquarters
in Lourdes, Cuba, southwest of Havana. Lourdes, of course, is also the largest
satellite sigint base in the Russian equivalent of Echeon, which I just wrote
about for msnbc.com. I was told that Rosman was used in part to capture
signals being sent between Lourdes and the Soviet sigint downlink at Vatutinki
The other mission was intercepting signals from the agent satellite network
the Soviet Union maintained to communicate with its agents worldwide.
A crude version of Iridium, it contained eight satellites in low earth orbit.
The property was ceded to the DoD from the General Services Administration
in December 1980, at the close of the Carter administration, on the same
day another smaller NASA site outside of London was turned over to DoD.
At the end of the Cold War, with the signing of the INF Treaty and lessened
tensions, it was shut down and some of its equipment sent to the NSA base
in Sebana Seca, P.R.
I hope this was helpful to you. If you need to call, give me a ring
at 1-800-NBC-NEWS, ext. 7390.
According to one account, Misawa's AN/FLR-9 "can pick up a Russian television
broadcast in Sakhalin or an exchange of insults between Chinese and Soviet
soldiers on the Sino-Soviet border."69 The INSCOM contingent focuses its
attention on Soviet army and General Staff activity, as well as on Afghanistan.
The NSGC contingent monitored the Soviet Navy's search and rescue activity
after the Soviets shot down Korean Airlines Flight 007 in 1983. Misawa is
also the site of Project LADYLOVE, which involves the interception of the
communications transmitted via several Soviet satellite systems--Molniya,
Raduga, and Gorizont. Also involved in the satellite communications interception
project are three additional stations, all run by the NSA. Rosman Research
Station was transferred from the NASA to the Department of Defense on February
1, 1981 for use as a "Communications Research Station" and became operational
on July 1, 1985 with 250 employees. At present it has four satellite dishes
pointed straight up and four in radomes.