Google posts ‘secret’ British SAS base on Street View in ‘very serious security breach’
Military chiefs and MPs blasted internet giant Google today after its Street View service included detailed pictures of the headquarters of the SAS.
Internet users can snoop around the entrance to Credenhill, Herefordshire, which has never before appeared on maps for security reasons.
Shockingly, the base is even marked as ‘British SAS’ on the website and offers users a detailed 180 degree view of the perimeter boundary.
MPs and military top brass have demanded Google removes the pictures, claiming it makes the SAS a target for terrorist attacks.
Lib Dem Hereford MP Paul Keetch said: ‘The footage is simply not acceptable during a time of perceived terrorism.
‘There needs to be a certain degree of restraint shown by people like Google.
‘I wouldn’t want a terrorist to be inspired by these pictures and it would be appalling if any help at all was given to our enemies.
‘We all know where the Palace of Westminister is, we all know where the SAS camp is, but the issue is if you’re going into such detail in such a way that you can undermine the security of that building, that could be a problem.’
An Army insider added: ‘Military chiefs have had concerns with Google Street View for some time.
‘It is highly irresponsible for military bases, especially special forces, to be pictured on the internet.
‘Google claims it blurs faces and number plates to avoid people being identified but one mistake could be very dangerous weapon for a terrorist.
‘The question is, why risk a very serious security breach for the sake of having a picture on a website?’
Residents living near the base also expressed shock at the pictures.
One man, who did not want to be named but has links with the base, said: ‘The SAS conducts operations where secrecy is absolutely vital to their success.
‘It beggars belief that the base has been made vulnerable by having such detailed pictures published on the internet.
‘Terrorists could potentially use their home computers to plot an attack capable of dire consequences on the base. That’s frightening.’
The images – all taken within the last six months – show a military ambulance and a police car at the gates of the base along with three guards.
Separate satellite pictures on Google Earth also show the layout of the buildings and even makes and models of cars in the car park.
The MoD has never made the exact details of the base public but the location of the nearest village is available online.
Google yesterday defended the pictures and said they had no plans to take them off their site.
Spokeswoman Laura Scott said: ‘One in five people already use Google Street View for house hunting and the scheme has previously launched in 20 countries without any breach of security issues.
‘Google only takes images from public roads and this is no different to what anyone could see travelling down the road themselves, therefore there is no appreciable security risk.
‘We’re happy to discuss any concerns as they arise.’
An MoD spokesman said: ‘We never confirm where any of our special forces are based.’