Michele Bachmann Claims China Blinding US Satellites With Science

Illustration for article titled Michele Bachmann Claims China Blinding US Satellites With Science

One doesn't need to be a political junkie to know that GOP Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and Science are no longer on speaking terms. She further assured that Science wouldn't be sending her a Christmas card this year with yet another dubious claim, this time that China was using lasers to blind American satellites, which not only didn't happen, but is not currently scientifically possible.


The claim was made, according to the Washington Post, on Laura Ingraham's show on September 30. The paper reports that during that interview, Bachmann made the following statement,

And don't forget I sit on the Intelligence Committee. We deal with the nation's classified secrets. This is an open-source document. I'm not sharing something I shouldn't, but China has blinded United States satellites with their lasers.


At this point, reading the transcript of a Bachmann interview conducted by a conservative is sort of like reading an epic poem constructed using the "Paranoid Conspiracy Theorist" magnetic poetry set, but the Washington Post investigated its validity all the same.

The report Bachmann cited was a "thinly sourced" 2008 document claiming that China might have been using lasers to track US satellites, which, for those of you who aren't well-versed in space laser technology, is not the same as "blinding." As more information came to light, it became unclear that China was doing anything to anyone's satellites, be it with lasers or light sabers or The Force or Chinamagic or whatever it is that Bachmann thinks they're doing over there.

Further, even if they had intended to damage satellites in space using lasers, concentrated beams of light are generally "an ineffective anti-satellite weapon," according to a scientific consultant to the Federation of American Scientists. In fact, no country has ever blinded another's satellites.

Would anyone be surprised if it turns out Bachmann's hair is disguising a tin foil hat?


Bachmann's Claim that China 'Blinded' US Satellites [WaPo]

Image via AP

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She keeps dropping the Intelligence Committee line, she'll end up fully bankrupting the meaning. Don't get me wrong, it's among the most credible factors she has going for her but it's not like there's an IQ test or education requirement to sit on it. Think about that and how information has to be distilled for non-scientific members and civilians.

Also, just to clarify, access to CLASSIFIED information isn't just given to you because you have a clearance, or sit on a particular committee — you also have to have a "need to know". In other words, she's not the Wizard of Oz. Someone else controls the flow of information to her.

I can assure you, there's nothing China can do to our satellites that we can't do to theirs. Lasers? Yeah, we've got those. Bigger and better.

Sounding alarms on UNCLASSIFIED information? That's five years old? Mountain, mole hill.