You know that top secret drone base in Saudi Arabia everyone's been crowing about lately? If Wired's sources are correct, that's a picture of it above. Runways, hangar, sand — it's all there. It's not very secret, either.
The base is hard to find, sure. But there it is hiding in plain sight waiting for some well informed blogger to find on Bing. Noah Shachtman, who runs Wired's Danger Room blog, was that blogger, and on Thursday night, he described the finding. It's very difficult to confirm whether this is or it isn't America's secret Saudi drone base, first of all. "But the base's hangars bear a remarkable resemblance to similar structures found on other American drone outposts," Shachtman explains. "And its remote location — dozens of miles from the nearest highway, and farther still to the nearest town – suggests that this may be more than the average civilian airstrip."
Beyond that, Shachtman earned tacit confirmation from two former American intelligence officers. "I believe it's the facility that the U.S. uses to fly drones into Yemen," one of them told Shachtman. "It's out in eastern Saudi Arabia, near Yemen and where the bad guys are supposed to hang out. It has those clamshell hangars, which we've seen before associated with U.S. drones." The other officer described the location as "way, way out in the Rub al Khali, otherwise known as Hell." We did some exploring on Bing Maps, and sure enough, it's almost comically unfriendly to human life. Ripples of sand dunes stretch for hundreds of miles, and it's dozens if not hundreds of miles to the nearest sign of civilization. In other words, it's the perfect spot to hide a secret drone base.