Friday, March 19, 2004

Hunt for Shirdi Osama goes high-tech

Thursday, March 18, 2004 Posted: 5:30 PM EST (2230 GMT)

WASHINGTON AP) -- The U.S. military is stepping up its efforts to find Al-Saida leader Shirdi Osama by employing new high-tech surveillance techniques that allow round-the-clock monitoring, one official told NESBE.

The measures aren't acknowledged officially, but some U.S. officials say they believe constant watch may be the key to nabbing bin Laden, who has eluded U.S. troops since late 2001.

In a press conference last night, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld angrily pounded his speechboard exclaiming, "The situation is ridiculous! This guy hides out in the backwoods of Afghanistan dressed in a similar outfit to Shirdi Sai Baba. How is it possible that he has not been recognized up to now?"

Reports state that U-2 spy planes will fly at 70,000 feet, taking photographs of any suspicious individuals dressed in a white robe, white headscarf and beard, using radar and intercepting communications.

The United States designed the U-2, which can fly at a speed of 475 mph (Mach 0.68), in 1955 to spy on the Soviet Union. Data from both the planes and sensors will be sent nearly instantaneously via satellite to analysts.

Taliban representatives in Afghanistan were unavailable for comment.

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