Editor's Note: This special feature is reprinted in partnership with Stratfor, a global private intelligence company. Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, neither PoliceOne nor STRATFOR can guarantee their complete accuracy.
Hi, I’m Fred Burton with STRATFOR, and in this week’s Above the Tearline we are going to take a look at the stealth helicopter that crashed at the safe house hiding Osama bin Laden.
Numerous media sources have reported that the stealth helicopter was a modified Blackhawk. Having said that, we have no independent confirmation as to whether or not it was a Blackhawk. Our sources are indicating that the stealth helicopter has been operational for a good four years, predominantly flying special operations missions only at night.
In looking at the design of the helicopter wreckage from the bin Laden safe house, it carries many of the characteristics that you would typically see on the stealth bomber and aircraft that is flying today. The design of the helicopter is one that is masked to reduce its radar signature as well as dampen the noise from the rotors. And it’s our understanding that the aircraft was designed for that specific purpose, meaning special operations missions to be handled at night behind enemy lines for the sole purpose of masking its approach to an attack site. From a person I talked to who has flown in one of these stealth helicopters, the helicopter has been described as amazingly quiet in the air, and the noise is much like an outdoor air conditioner next to your house in the dead of the summer.
The helicopter was flown out of the 160th at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and certainly explains why President Obama made the visit to personally recognize the flight crews.
Our aviation sources close to the operation advise that the stealth helicopter crashed due to a brown out. In essence, as the helicopter approached, with the pilot utilizing night vision goggles, the dust and the dirt of the compound created an atmosphere which caused the pilot to set down the helicopter on the wall. After the helicopter crashed, a front portion, the cockpit area, was blown up by special operations SEALS while they were departing with bin Laden’s body.
Having done a lot of aircraft investigations in my past, one of the things you will notice is, the Pakistanis lost control of the crash site. At this point it’s unclear how much of the wreckage has already been lost that potentially could show up on the black market or in the hands of a nation-state that would be fascinated to learn the technology used in order to enter and exit Pakistani airspace without getting caught.
The “Above the Tearline” aspect of this video is the fact that we have been flying this stealth helicopter for four years is a remarkable achievement, and the fact that there had been no leaks until the pictures of the helicopter next to safe house surfaced.
About the author
Fred Burton is one of the world’s foremost authorities on security, terrorists and terrorist organizations. In his capacity as Vice President for Counterterrorism and Corporate Security, Mr. Burton oversees Stratfor’s terrorism intelligence service and consults with clients on security-related issues affecting their organizations or personal safety. He leads a team of terrorism experts and a global network of human intelligence sources to analyze and forecast the most significant events and trends related to terrorism and counterterrorism. Before joining Stratfor, Mr. Burton served as a special agent in counterterrorism for the U.S. Department of State, where he was involved in many high-profile operations. He orchestrated the arrest of Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing, and investigated cases such as the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the killing of Rabbi Meir Kahane, al Qaeda’s New York City bombing plots before 9/11, and the Libyan-backed terrorist attacks against diplomats in Sanaa and Khartoum. He has also served as the U.S. liaison officer to several international security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies, providing consulting on global intelligence and threat identification. In addition, Mr. Burton has revolutionized the field of security by designing a unique and specialized protective program to safeguard CEOs, their families, employees and physical facilities. His strategy is highly valued and has been implemented by governments and a number of the world’s leading corporations. For a special offer to get a copy of GHOST, and to read additional information about Fred Burton and his role at Stratfor, please click here