USAF Research Laboratory image.
A February 2008 agreement between Washington and Canberra provides for intensified co-operation and intelligence sharing in GEOINT, geospatial intelligence derived from imagery and other information obtained from surveillance satellites, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
The agreement, which the Herald says has been revealed in a secret US embassy cable obtained by WikiLeaks and provided exclusively to it, reveals that Australia and the US have formed a partnership to share top-secret intelligence from spy satellites as Australia moves to acquire a satellite to boost surveillance of Asia and the Pacific.
The cable reports that the then defence minister, Joel Fitzgibbon, and the US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, signed a "statement of principles on geospatial intelligence co-operation" at a closed session of the Australia-United States Ministerial meeting in Canberra.
The US record of the AUSMIN meeting says the agreement is designed "to take GEOINT co-operation to the same level that signals intelligence has reached between the two countries.''
The lead agencies involved in its implementation are understood to be the Australian Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation in Canberra and Bendigo in Victoria, and the US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency headquarters at Fort Belvoir in Virginia.
Read the full report here.