|Keeping an ‘ear’ on East Timor|
|Australia, New Zealand hand intelligence over to Washington|
|By Robert Windrem|
NBC NEWS PRODUCER
IN FACT, President Bill Clinton said Sunday the U.S. stood ready to assist a U.N. peacekeeping force with intelligence.
|Sept. 12 As the East Timor crisis has heated up, the United States has been using electronic intelligence gathered nearby in Australia and New Zealand, two nations in a spying alliance officially known as the UKUSA treaty, but known in the spy trade as the WASP Alliance.|
Electronic spy bases throughout Australia and New Zealand gather communications intelligence primarily by downlinking signals from Indonesias Palapa constellation of four satellites, strung out over the 3,000-mile island chain, as well as communications from ships and planes, radio receivers and other satellites.
East Timor, said experts, has been a priority since the time of the 1975 Indonesian invasion, although little of what the intelligence has revealed has ever been made public. Intelligence priorities have included not only military communications out of East Timor, but policy discussions in Jakarta.