Mysterious Purchases of Land Near US Military Facilities

ABC7 had an interesting segment this week which covered a “mystery company” that purchased $800M worth of land directly adjacent to Travis AFB in Fairfield, CA – between San Francisco and Sacramento. Public records show the purchase was made by a company named “Flannery Associates LLC” which started purchasing land back in 2018 and have been increasing acquisitions into 2023. The Flannery Group now owns the land on 3 sides of the base, butting up directly on its borders, and yet after 8 months of investigation by local, state, and federal officials there are still no answers as to who, or what entity, control Flannery Group and is behind these purchases.

What makes these purchases even more suspicious is the price which Flannery Group paid to acquire the land. According to Congressman John Garamendi the land was acquired at “five to ten times the normal value” of the land, and that anyone looking to use this area for farmland, developments, or etc would have difficulty turning a profit due to the inflated purchase price. This raised a red flag for the congressmen and implies the value of the land to the Flannery Group could be its strategic placement to US military installations. Flannery group has apparently also acquired land surrounding California electrical grid installations. Further, the US has found instances in the past similar to this one where China was acquiring land around US military bases and were looking to build silos to monitor Grand Forks Base in North Dakota.

While this article doesn’t cover space or space infrastructure directly the implications of these types actions are an obvious security risk to not only US military bases but also US satellite ground stations and launch sites. It is concerning that these plots of land can be purchased without the ability of the government to discern who is purchasing them and for what purpose. If adversaries are able to purchase these plots of land they could exploit proximity to a ground station to intercept satellite communications when downlink occurs in a clandestine manner which would be hard to detect. If the adversary intends to be more direct than the list of cybersecurity concerns grows, and could be implemented at any number of US launch facilities or ground stations to interrupt satellite missions.

ABC7 Article and video found here: