12 January 2001

See related: http://cryptome.org/nsa-hole-pix.htm

See also: http://cryptome.org/jya/rusigint.htm

From: "Robert Windrem" <rwindrem@msn.com>
To: <cypherpunks@cyberpass.net>
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 outside Moscow.

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.