Accusations Begin to Fly Over Satellite Collision

The conservative Washington Times newspaper published an editorial on Friday that heated up the rhetoric surrounding a recent collision between American and Russian satellites:

Russian Maj. Gen. Leonid Shershnev surprised us Tuesday with his strange charge that the United States had engineered the collision between America’s Iridium 33 and Russia’s Cosmos 2251 satellites over Siberia on Feb. 10. More shockingly, Russia’s deputy defense minister, Gen. Valentin Popovkin, said Thursday that Russia was working on anti-satellite technology and already had the “basic, key elements” of such weapons.

One certainty we remember from the Cold War: Whatever Russia accuses us of doing, it is, in fact, doing itself. That makes us wonder whether the Russians really did down an American satellite last month. Is this the long awaited “test” of our new president that Vice President Biden warned of?

A spokesman for U.S. Strategic Command denied Gen. Shershnev’s claim, assuring us that it was “an unforeseen collision” in the vastness of space and that “any claims that this collision was intentional are false.” Yet our sources provide a somewhat different story. Senior military officers, intelligence analysts and space industry executives tell us that this space strike was no accident. “The possibility the Russians were testing a pre-positioned space mine is very plausible,” says former Department of Defense space consultant Taylor Dinerman. Given the alignment of means, motive and opportunity, it is not surprising that buzz is growing that the Russians pulled off a coup.

The editorial continues with a lot of conjecture about how the Russians might have used a derelict satellite as a “kinetic kill weapon.” It ends with the provocative question:

As Russia continues to develop anti-satellite weapons, the question is: What is the Obama administration prepared to do to protect America’s satellites and the homeland they help safeguard?

I don’t know if the collision was intentional or not (I doubt it), but the question of how the administration (and the rest of the world) deals with anti-satellite technology is a pertinent one.