In short, it is a matter of timing and availability. In the first case, no classified information based on satellite imagery has been leaked or made public months after MH17 crashed in the Donetsk region. In the second case, it appeared just days after a Russian passenger jet disintegrated in mid-air over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.
An Airbus A321 operated by the Russian airline Kogalymavia crashed on October 31. Two days later, US media reported that a spy satellite detected a heat flash in the skies above the desert shortly before the incident. Reports cited unnamed US officials.
Yet, the US has never released any proof that self-defense forces in eastern Ukraine shot down the plane. The investigative reporter assumed that if there were any images proving this scenario, they would have been leaked to mainstream media.
Lindorff offers other possible explanations:
"Those photos that exist show something quite different, like a BUK being launched by Ukrainian government sources, or else, perhaps the current claim that satellite images show a heat signature around the Russian plane in Egypt are false (no image has been provided to back up the assertion of a heat signature)."
Why are the MH17 and A321 tragedies so different when it comes to US intelligence data? Lindorff suggests looking at a bigger picture. Unlike the US, Russia has been quite successful in its counterterrorism efforts in Syria.
"Perhaps the thinking at the White House is that by suggesting it was a bomb, and not a structural defect that brought down a Russian civilian aircraft, killing hundreds of Russian citizens, the Russian people might logically link that purported bombing to Putin's actions in Syria and his antagonism of [ISIL] and al-Nusra, and might then turn against him," he noted.
Whatever the explanation, Lindorff is convinced that if the US had a satellite over Sinai, it surely had one over Ukraine.
If Washington is "willing to announce that its satellite caught the moment of the explosion of Flight 9268 and is willing to talk about that, it should also be willing to show what its satellites saw when Flight 17 was downed," he concluded.