A satellite image showing damage to oil/gas Saudi Aramco infrastructure at Khurais, in Saudi Arabia in this handout picture released by the US Government September 15, 2019. (Reuters)

October 30, 2019

Saudi officials believe that Iran’s accurate attack on its state-owned Aramco oil facilities in September was not coordinated by an insider but instead helped by Google Maps.

According to West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, Saudi Aramco authorities said that the website’s satellite maps were so clear that the attacks could pinpoint a tiny target.

During his trip there just two weeks after the attack, which the United States blamed on Iran, Manchin said he was shown video of the missile hits that sidelined the oil facility.

“I asked [an] Aramco [official], I said, ‘Aren’t you concerned about espionage, maybe somebody working for you in your plant who is able to get all of this intricate information and also the coordinates of where the missiles could hit?'” Manchin told the North American Infrastructure Leadership Forum in Washington.

“He looked at me and said, ‘If we thought that was a problem, we would be, but basically it’s all Google, Google Maps.’ He said, ‘It’s so accurate.’”

That had Manchin concerned about the safety of U.S. facilities, which he described as poorly protected and easy to spy on through Google’s photographic maps.

“It’s a whole different game-changer now,” he said, adding, “There is nothing safe.”

Manchin said he is especially worried about an attack on U.S. natural gas supplies because many industries are shifting to it because it is cheaper than coal or nuclear energy.

But, he warned, “It can be disrupted too, and you disrupt basically a baseload fuel this country depends on, that’s a critical position to be put into, and I think it’s very damaging for our sake, the defense of the nation, so we’re very concerned about that.”

Washington Examiner

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.