Hide and Seek: 22 Tips on Evading Drones

Pages of a jihadist instruction manual offer Al Qaeda members advice on everything from avoiding drones to shooting them out of the sky.

  • Share
  • Read Later
Getty Images / Adam Berry

A visitor looks at a Northrop Grumman HALE Systems Enterprise drone on display at the Internationale Luftausstellung (ILA) Air Show on September 11, 2012 in Berlin, Germany.

For years, the U.S. has had drones watching (and occasionally, attacking) Islamist militants across central Asia, the Middle East and Africa; now it seems the militants have been watching back.

Pages of a jihadist instruction manual obtained by the Associated Press feature a list of 22 suggestions on how to avoid drone strikes. The manual, written by Abdullah bin Mohammed, the nom de guerre for a senior al-Qaeda commander in the Arabian peninsula, was found beneath a pile of trash in a building previously occupied by Islamic extremists in Timbuktu.

(MORE: Another Voice Against A Secret Drone Court)

As translated by the AP, tips include everything from using reflective glass on cars or rooftops to investing in a “Russian made ‘sky grabber’ device to infiltrate the drone’s waves and the frequencies.” The Russian equipment, the author notes, is a mere $2,596.

The memo featured obvious as well as somewhat unorthodox tactics — everything from advice on hiding in tree-covered areas to dispersing from a car in different directions so as to confuse the drone and using dolls as a ruse for fake meetings. The list also advises militants to set up snipers to shoot drones out of the sky.

The document is dated June 16, 2011 — just one month after the death of Osama bin Laden — and appears to shed new light on al-Qaeda’s system of coordination between regional chapters, as well as an anticipation of an accelerated U.S. drone program.

MORE: The Most Expensive Weapon Ever Built